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Taps run dry in sunny Langkawi

LANGKAWI – The idyllic, sun-bathed Malaysian resort island of Langkawi may be surrounded by pristine waters, but its residents are seeing their taps run dry.

Malaysia’s northern region, as a whole, has been affected by the El Nino weather phenomenon, which has resulted in weeks without rain, but Langkawi has suffered worse, with extremely low water pressure in its supply grid.

Mr Ishark Saad, 55, who lives at Taman Dahlia apartments in Kuah town, said their problems began on Jan 29.

“At first, the water pressure was low, but we still had water. Then, since Jan 31, the water supply has stopped completely,” he said.

He said there were eight blocks at Taman Dahlia and three of them had no water, while the rest experienced low water pressure.

Mr Ishark, who works at Kuah Jetty, said the hot weather made life difficult for Langkawi residents.

It has become scorching hot, and there has been no rain for three months.

Fortunately, he said that water utility company Syarikat Air Darul Aman (Sada) sent a tanker filled with treated water to the affected blocks.

Eatery operator Nurhidayah Mohd Radzi, 40, said this was the first time she experienced water cuts at her restaurant in Kuah.

“I had low water pressure since last week, and two days ago, the water supply stopped completely,” she said.

Despite that, she continued operating her business as it was her only source of income.

She said she bought water containers and also cartons of drinking water for cooking and drinking.

A restaurant owner in Pantai Cenang, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, said the lack of water would have a negative impact on tourism.

“Tourists are here every day. If there is no water, we can’t operate our businesses for them,” he said.

He said that since Jan 29, the tap water pressure in Pantai Cenang had been extremely low in the mornings and completely cut off at night.

Langkawi Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman Joseph Ooi said that only certain areas of the island were affected by the water cut.

“So far, I have not received any complaints from our association members. Hopefully, the problem can be rectified soon,” he said.

Local politician Shamsilah Siru said her service centre was ready to help affected residents.

“Those who need help can contact my service centre,” she said, adding that Sada was providing enough water tanks.

On Jan 31, Sada said several places in Langkawi were experiencing water supply disruptions due to the El Nino phenomenon.

The areas include Kuah town, Kisap, Kilim, Perana, Bayas, Ulu Melaka, Temoyong, Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah.

It also said the water level of the main island’s river, Sungai Melaka, was dropping, posing a challenge for the water utility company to treat enough water.

Leaks in the undersea pipes that transport treated water from the Sungai Baru water treatment plant from the mainland to Langkawi further complicate the situation. – THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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