The Penang government has ordered Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) to reorganise its action plan, to stretch the raw water reserves at the Air Itam Dam to last up to another 120 days.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the water reserves in the dam are currently depleting until the next rainy season, expected in September.

“This year, the effective capacity of the Air Itam Dam decreased by 41.4 per cent in a period of 129 days, from Jan 1 to May 9 this year, and currently it has an effective capacity (reserve) of 41.1 per cent, which has the potential to last for another 120 days until the expected rainy season in September.

“The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) issued a statement announcing that the drier southwest monsoon season will begin tomorrow… hopefully there will be some rain in the Air Itam Dam catchment area to stretch the dam’s reserves until September,” he said today.

He said PBAPP is likely to manage the raw water reserves at Air Itam Dam to last until the next rainy season, while maintaining a constant water supply to consumers in Air Itam.

Chow, who is also chairman of PBAPP, said it has done a good job in reducing the water supply coverage area at Air Itam Dam, to cover the premises of 6,000 consumers in Air Itam.

He said this means that in May, only about 6,000 consumers depend on the treated water produced in Air Itam itself, compared with about 28,948 users at normal times.

“This adaptation is done through the strategic pumping of more treated water from the Sungai Dua water treatment plant (LRA) to reach consumers living in the Air Itam area, and reducing the supply coverage area, enabling PBAPP to significantly minimise the daily discharge from Air Itam Dam,” he said.

In the meantime, he said since Jan 1, PBAPP has also implemented other dry weather control engineering measures to minimise drawdown from the Itam Air Dam, and that control has been tightened gradually as the water reserve of the dam continues to shrink.

According to Chow, PBAPP also has the option of continuing to tighten its dry weather control engineering measures, however, tighter controls may affect the water supply.

“We do not want to make it difficult for the public and businesses, therefore PBAPP will only implement stricter control measures in Penang when it is absolutely necessary, and we will inform the public in advance accordingly,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency