GEORGE TOWN, Feb 8 — The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) has sought assistance from the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) to carry out cloud seeding operations at the Air Itam Dam promptly to increase its effective capacity.

PBAPP chief executive officer K. Pathmananthan said they officially wrote to SPAN on February 2 to assist in planning and executing cloud seeding operations in March (inter-monsoon season).

“Through this official letter, we requested SPAN’s chief executive officer, Datuk Ahmad Faizal Abdul Rahman, to help in planning and executing cloud seeding operations to support PBAPP’s efforts to increase the effective capacity of the Air Itam Dam.

“We have stated that cloud seeding operations are crucial for PBAPP to maintain continuous water supply services in Air Itam for the benefit of approximately 30,000 water users, including domestic and non-domestic consumers.

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“We have also informed SPAN that cloud seeding operations in May and June 2023 contributed to a rainfall amount of 30.5mm in the catchment areas of the Air Itam Dam and Air Itam Water Treatment Plant (WTP) last year,” he said in a statement today.

As of this morning, the effective capacity of the Air Itam Dam is at 32.8 per cent, while it’s 85.1 per cent for the Teluk Bahang Dam and 90 per cent for the Mengkuang Dam.

Pathmananthan said PBAPP is awaiting feedback from SPAN to commence initial discussions regarding the proposed cloud seeding operations.

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Meanwhile, he said PBAPP will obtain approval from the state government this week to implement the Air Itam Dam Action Plan 2024 (AIDAP 2024), which aims to gradually increase the effective capacity of the Air Itam Dam by implementing several measures.

“These include reducing water releases from the dam from the average daily raw water inflow into the reservoir, with an average inflow into the reservoir being 15 million litres per day (MLD), and PBAPP will only release 11 MLD to be channelled to the Air Itam WTP,” he said.

He added that PBAPP will also maintain an inflow of 6 MLD from the main and secondary catchment into the Air Itam WTP and will pump 33 MLD of treated water into the service area of the Air Itam WTP from the Padang Brown Pump House.

“The treated water comes from the Sungai Dua WTP in Seberang Perai, and the success of AIDAP 2024 depends on several factors, namely the daily inflow of 15 MLD of raw water into the Air Itam Reservoir from the Balik Pulau catchment, the side catchment, and the Sungai Pinang Barat catchment.

“In addition, it also depends on the daily inflow of 6 MLD of raw water into the Air Itam WTP from the main and secondary catchment. PBAPP requests the assistance of the Federal Government to conduct cloud seeding operations to encourage rainfall as much as possible in the water catchment areas for the five catchments involved,” he said. — Bernama