JOHOR BAHRU: Around 15,000 residents in the Kota Tinggi area will be affected by water rationing which could take place as early as this weekend, as the water level in a major Johor dam dipped below rationing level.
State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said on Tuesday (Mar 12) that the reading at Lok Heng dam was at 1.43m, below the rationing level of 1.5m. The normal water level is 2.75m.
"We cannot avoid this, we have to ration and I hope the people understand because of the extraordinary weather factors,” said Mr Puah.
"However, we will increase our efforts and will look for water resources as soon as possible, but for now, we have to accept that we will soon experience water supply disruptions," he added.
Those affected include residents in Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) Gugusan Lok Heng, Felda Waha and Bukit Easter.
Late last month, the state government said water levels at two major dams were hovering around the critical point, as parts of Malaysia experienced a heatwave.
The water level at Sungai Lebam dam was reported to be 10.9m on Feb 26, almost two metres below the critical level. The normal water level was 14m, while the critical level is 12.7m.
For Loke Heng dam, the water level was two metres at that time, just 50cm above the critical level.
WATER RATIONING TO AFFECT MORE AREAS SOON
Meanwhile, Mr Puah said on Tuesday that water rationing would also be carried out soon in the Sungai Gembut and Sedili areas, affecting about 25,000 residents. This is due to a drop in water level at the Sungai Gembut river in eastern Johor.
"The water level at the river has dropped to 0.19m compared to the normal level of 0.7m,” he said, adding that the water will only last for five days.
"Hence, the public is advised not to waste water as water rationing has started," he said.
Mr Puah added that the Sultan Iskandar Water Treatment Plant - the largest facility in the state that is capable of providing water to 600,000 residents in Pasir Gudang, Johor Jaya, Seri Alam and Permas Jaya - has water supply for 69 days.
"We have a back-up plan for water pumps from the Seluyut dam of nearly 130 million litres a day to ease the pressure should it reach a critical stage," he said.