Dry days coming with south-west monsoon, possible water shortages, says Zahid

PETALING JAYA: The incoming south-west monsoon is expected to bring back hot and dry weather with water shortages a possibility, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister and National Disaster Management Committee (Nadma) chairman said in a statement on Tuesday (May 14) that the south-west monsoon would bring several negative effects to the country.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) earlier forecast that the south-west monsoon would begin on May 17 and continue through September 2024.

“This will bring several negative impacts that could affect health, reduced water supply, forest and bushfires, haze and if it prolongs, reduced crop yields.

“I have also been informed by the Environment Department that there have been 2,030 cases of open burning, with a total of nine cases brought to court and 630 cases referred to other agencies, and a total of 100 compound notices totalling RM200,000 were issued between Jan 1 and April 30,” he said.

In preparation for such incidents, the Nadma meeting also discussed the use of alternative water sources such as the use of underground wells that could also be used for firefighting in peat soil areas.

“There are 640 active alternative wells for domestic use and 104 wells at peat soil and forest areas, with a capacity of 176.13 million litres per day.

“State disaster management committees have been told to take appropriate steps to collectively face such situations by requesting water operators to improve operations while also preparing logistics support to supply water to affected areas,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid added that as a whole, he was satisfied with the readiness of all governmental agencies to face the dry weather and south-west monsoon.

The meeting also saw the launch of the Community Based Disaster Reduction Management (CBDRM) guidebook, which was jointly created with Nadma and Universiti Teknologi Mara’s College of Engineering.

The guidebook is to ensure effective implementation of CBDRM programmes at all state and district disaster management committees levels.

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