Cloud seeding ops to begin

Syarikat Air Negri Sembilan engineer Mohd Noor Hairi Ab Razak (left) and Gemencheh plant engineer Mohamad Amin Abu Zaka discussing the water level at the Gemencheh dam.

PETALING JAYA - Cloud seeding operations are expected to take place today over water catchment areas serving water treatment plants in four states which have not seen rain over the past one month.

Malaysian Meteorological Depart­ment (MMD) senior meteoro­logist Azhar Ishak confirmed yesterday that cloud seeding was likely to be conducted over catchment areas of dams in Selangor, Johor, Malacca and Negri Sembilan today and tomorrow.

"We can confirm that the operations will commence with forecasts showing the appearance of the tower­ing cumulus clouds which are suitable for the seeding operations," he said yesterday.

In the tropics, cloud seeding is an attempt to induce rain by dispersing substances into the air that serve as points where condensation can occur.

When asked about the chances of the success of the operations, Azhar said it would depend on weather conditions nearer to the seeding time.

"There is the wind factor coupled with prevailing atmospheric conditions," he said, adding that if successful, rain should fall within 10 to 15 minutes from the time of seeding.

Azhar said that up to this point, it had not rained over dam catchment areas, though there was isolated rain in other areas.

"Ultimately, success is also depen­dent on whether rain will fall within the targeted catchment areas after the seeding exercise," said Azhar, who revealed that the Royal Malay­sian Air Force would take charge of seeding operations in the Klang Valley by using material that has been proven to be safe.

In this case, ordinary salt would be used to seed the clouds.

Cloud seeding operations in Malaysia have recorded success rates of between 57 per cent and 65 per cent since 1974.

Johor also plans to introduce cloud seeding over the next two weeks to increase the water level at the Sembrong Timur Dam which serves residents in the Kluang district.

The state meteorological department and the Johor Water Manage­ment Authority will be tasked with handling seeding operations in the state.

According to MMD's website, cloud seeding was carried out in the past over Malacca's Durian Tunggal catchment area, as well as Selangor's Langat, Klang Gates, Semenyih and Sungai Tinggi catchment areas.