Zambry: Perak needs tunnel to tackle water woes

By Sylvia Loo

IPOH, March 7 — The federal government has been urged to speed up a tunnel project to transfer water from Sungai Perak to Sungai Kerian to ensure the water level at the Bukit Merah dam is sustainable.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir said the state had suggested the plan after the water level at the dam decreased critically during the El Nino phenomenon last year which led to taps running dry in the surrounding areas.

“We raised the matter during the National Water Resources Council meeting which was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last year,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting at the Perak Water Board (LAP)yesterday, Zambry said the Bukit Merah Dam caters to consumers at the Kerian padi fields and also industries in Kamunting.

“We need a comprehensive approach to solve the problem,” he said.

Asked if the state planned to build more dams, Zambry said there was no place to build dams.

“Bukit Merah is a water catchment area and we need tributaries to make a catchment area,” he said.

“The problem is we do not have enough capacity to provide water into Bukit Merah. So we suggested a tunnel to transfer water from Sungai Perak into Sungai Kerian. It is similar to the water transfer project from Pahang to Selangor.” 

On reports that El Nino may make a return this year, Zambry said: “We may anticipate dry weather but it will turn out to be a wet season. The important thing is the state must be prepared for any eventualities be in floods or drought.”

On a separate matter, Zambry announced that LAP recorded a pre-tax profit of RM90.81 million last year compared to RM110.30 million in 2015.

The reduction in profit, Zambry explained, was due to transfer of loans to Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB).

“No transfers were made last year but in 2015, Perak made a profit of RM18.75 through transferring of loans to PAAB.”