Perak Irrigation and Drainage Dept: Bukit Merah dam at warning point

A man washes his hands in Kuala Lumpur January 9, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A man washes his hands in Kuala Lumpur January 9, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The water line at the Bukit Merah dam in Taiping, Perak has reached the alert level due to the heatwave and dry spell affecting the state, according to the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID).

The dam supplies water to more than 22,000ha of rice fields in the Kerian district and is a source of drinking water for more than 200,000 people.

State DID director Datuk Dr Ahmad Anuar Othman told the New Straits Times (NST) that the dam also supplies water for industrial needs in Kamunting, Taiping.

“The water level at the man-made lake has reached 7.56m.

“DID manages the Bukit Merah Reservoir, while the other two dams, the Air Kuning dam in Taiping and the Sultan Azlan Shah dam in Ipoh, are managed by the Perak Water Board.

“The water level at the Bukit Merah dam is at the alert level, but we are receiving rainfall from the catchment area. It will improve the water level. The normal level is at 8.69m.

“We hope the dry spell will not spark a repeat of the 2016 drought, which was described as the worst in recent history,” he told the NST.

In 2016, the Bukit Merah dam had less than 6m of water at its deepest point and only had 14 per cent of water left despite having a catchment area of 480sq km.

This prompted DID to stop releasing water for plantation and rice field irrigation following the drought, which was brought on by the El Nino phenomenon.

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