Channel NewsAsia

Malaysian states face major water crisis

The government said if the on-going hot and dry spell continues, as many as two million residents in the Klang Valley may experience a disruption of its clean water supply.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is on the verge of a major water crisis.

The government said if the on-going hot and dry spell continues, as many as two million residents in the Klang Valley may experience a disruption of its clean water supply.

Taps have already run dry in some areas, and states like Johor have begun water rationing.

Selangor, the most populated state, is set to begin water rationing on Tuesday.

Like thousands of others in the suburb of Balakong, 60-year-old Mek Som and her nine-year-old grand-daughter have been fetching water daily from water tankers, after weeks of no rain led to a water shortage.

Elsewhere, portable tanks have been installed to help those who missed the water delivery.

It's been almost three weeks since their taps at home ran dry, and residents are getting frustrated, having to rely on static tanks for their water supply.

In a bid to resolve the water woes, the Selangor state government is implementing water rationing, limiting the water cuts to every two days. But the relief is only temporary.

The government has warned that water levels at major rivers and dams will reach critical levels across several states, if the current hot and dry spell continues.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said his cabinet will decide on Wednesday if there's a need to declare a state of emergency in the badly-affected areas.

His government is also contemplating large-scale cloud-seeding to cool temperatures.

Mr Najib said: "We are planning cloud-seeding but to do so, we need to have a conducive weather condition where there is a presence of rain clouds, we are ready."

The Royal Malaysian Air Force has been on stand-by to artificially induce rain when conditions are conducive.

Meanwhile, firefighters are working round the clock to control the number of hotspots in the country. More than 6,000 open fires are blazing across the nation - 14 times more than in the same period last year.

And as the acrid smoke from bush and peat fires fills the air, the public is now concerned about the return of the haze that choked the nation last year. 

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