Water supply slowly returning to normal in Langkawi

LANGKAWI: The rainfall of late has brought respite to Langkawi folk but water issues affecting businesses in the holiday island look far from over.

In some areas, water pressure is so low that some are unable to run their business as usual.

There were also complaints of murky water from taps, which locals likened to teh tarik.

Duty-free shop owner Loke Seng Chee, 50, said his home in Taman Indah is equipped with a large water tank but not his shop in nearby Kuah town.

“Fortunately, I have a storage tank. But at my shop in town, the pressure is low and the water is yellowish.

“Before using the water, I have to turn on the tap for about a minute to release all the murky water,” he said, adding that they never use the water for drinking.

Loke said the problem began early this year, adding that water quality was fine before that.

The northern region has been impacted by El Nino, resulting in weeks without rain since early this year.

In January, Kedah water company Syarikat Air Darul Aman (Sada) warned Langkawi folk to brace for dry taps due to El Nino, compounded by leakages in a 37km undersea pipeline which supplies over 60% of treated water to the island.

Former Langkawi Businesses Association deputy president Datuk Alexander Isaac said the water issue remains a concern although there had been rainfall in recent days.

“About 60% to 70% of our members are impacted by the recent water disruptions. Some restaurants had to close due to poor water supply.

“Business operators in major areas like Kuah and Pantai Cenang have also experienced low water pressure.

“Overall, the whole place is facing water shortage,” he said when contacted.

Alexander claimed that the rivers and ponds have dried up, with water levels dropping to critical levels.

“This is expected during the dry spell, except that this season seems to be hotter than before,” he said.

However, he noted that Sada had sent water tankers to deliver water.

Hair salon owner Normaliza Che Abdul Tarim, 37, said the situation had improved over the past few days.

Before this, she said she had to turn away customers whenever there was a water cut.

“Things are improving. Water pressure has increased and we get more water now, enough for me to store some,” she said.

Kedah water supply and resources committee chairman Mohamad Yusoff @ Munir Zakaria said repairs to the underwater pipeline are underway.

“Repairs are ongoing but they cannot be done every day due to strong currents,” he said.

Based on data from the Statistics Department in 2022, there are 96,100 people residing in Langkawi.

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