Penang Water Alert: Dam Reserves Are Low

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PENANG, Wednesday, 15.1.2020 – The effective capacities of the two key dams on Penang Island are significantly lower than normal, due to low rainfall last year. As of yesterday (14.1.2020), the effective capacities of the Air Itam Dam and Teluk Bahang Dam are as follows:

Dam Effective Capacity

on 14.1.2020

1 Air Itam Dam 62.0%
2 Teluk Bahang Dam 39.5%
Comparison of dam effective capacities in 2020 vs. 3 previous years.
Dam 14.1.2020 14.1.2019 14.1.2018 14.1.2017
1 Air Itam Dam 62.0% 88.7% 97.5% 99.4%
2 Teluk Bahang Dam 39.5% 81.4% 98.6% 100.0%

The primary cause is abnormally low rainfall in the past 4 months, due to climate change. In the period September to December 2019, the total rainfall recorded in the Air Itam Dam was 702mm. It is equivalent to 44.5% of the 3-year average of 1,577mm, recorded in the corresponding periods for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Meanwhile, the total rainfall recorded at the Teluk Bahang Dam in the period September to December 2019 was 1,732mm. It is equivalent to 55.9% of the 3-year average of 3,101mm, recorded in the corresponding periods for 2016, 2017 and 2018. The following table compares the total rainfall in September to December 2019 against the corresponding period in 2018, 2017 and 2016:

Comparison of total rainfall recorded in dam water catchment areas for the period September to December 2019 vs. 3 previous years.
Dam 2019 2018 2017 2016
1 Air Itam Dam 702mm 1,150mm 1,599mm 1,982mm
2 Teluk Bahang Dam 1,732mm 2,590mm 2,673mm 4,040mm

Minimising Drawdowns

Since November 2019, Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) has been minimising raw water drawdowns from the Air Itam Dam and Teluk Bahang Dam. 

In order to meet water demand during the 2019 year-end festive period, PBAPP optimised the production of treated water in the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant on the mainland, and pumped more treated water to the island. With the onset of the 2020 dry season, we must make sure that our dam reserves can last until the rains arrive, in April or May.

 

Save Water, Use It Wisely 

Please adopt the following 3 key practices immediately to reduce water consumption:

  1. Avoid using a hose to clean your home or wash your vehicle. Use a broom and a mop to clean your home. Wash your car or motorcycle less often, and use a bucket and sponge when you do so.
  2. Do not use a hose to water your garden or plants every day. Use a watering can instead.
  3. Do not leave a tap running. Shut off every tap after use and kindly teach your children to follow your example.

For more water saving tips, please visit www.pba.com.my. This is an urgent appeal to the people of Penang. We need your kind cooperation and support to ensure no water rationing in Penang during this dry season.

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