Penang to carry out cloud seeding end April to early May as dams run low

A signage indicating water levels at Teluk Bahang, Air Itam and Mengkuang dams is pictured in Penang January 15, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A signage indicating water levels at Teluk Bahang, Air Itam and Mengkuang dams is pictured in Penang January 15, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, April 28 — The Penang state government will be conducting cloud seeding operations over Penang and Kedah over the next few days until early May.

Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) Chief Executive Officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said it is now the inter-monsoon season with rain clouds present which makes the probability of success in inducing rainfall higher.

“The Penang state exco has approved a budget of RM300,000 to finance the cloud seeding operations,” he said in a statement issued today.

He said the state exco had approved PBAPP’s Water Supply Contingency Plan to implement cloud seeding operations on April 22.

He said the cloud seeding operations will be conducted by a company recommended by the Malaysian Meteorological Department (Met Malaysia) and the department will also provide expert advice on cloud seeding operations.

Jaseni said this move is needed as the effective capacity of six dams in Penang and Kedah has remained low as of April 27.

The effective capacity of the three dams in Penang; Air Itam Dam is at 33.3 per cent, Teluk Pahang at 20.4 per cent and Mengkuang Dam at 67.2 per cent while the effective capacity of the dams in Kedah are 5.4 per cent in Muda Dam, 41.7 per cent at Beris Dam and 33.9 per cent at Pedu Dam.

He said the Muda and Beris Dams in Kedah were built to release water into Sungai Muda during dry seasons and the river is the primary raw water resource for Penang and southern Kedah.

“PBAPP is projecting to increase the effective capacities of Air Itam Dam by 20 per cent, Teluk Bahang Dam by 15 per cent and Mengkuang Dam by 5 per cent from the cloud seeding operations and the current inter-monsoon rainfall in April and May,” he said.

He said the effective capacities must be increased by June to ensure sufficient water supply for Penang until the next inter-monsoon season in August.

He added that PBAPP hoped to increase the effective capacities of the six dams in Penang and Kedah in preparation for the next dry season in early 2021.

The water corp will continue to monitor the effective capacities of the Muda, Beris and Pedu Dams in Kedah and the river level of the Sungai Muda, he said.

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