Saturday, January 28, 2023

Kelantan may sink below the sea if underground water extraction continues

NewsKelantan may sink below the sea if underground water extraction continues

Kelantan may sink below the sea level if the use of underground water extraction continues, says Dr Yong Chien Zheng, a lecturer of surveying at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Speaking to The Star, Dr Yong said Kelantan might go the way of Jakarta in Indonesia unless the authorities take care with extracting underground water. He added that the drawing of water could bring more floods.

His study, titled ‘Groundwater extraction-induced land subsidence: A geodetic strain rate study in Kelantan, Malaysia’ found that parts of the state is currently sinking, with Kuala Krai recording the highest subsidence rate of 4.22mm per year.

Dr Yong said that although they do not have sufficient data to conclude the main cause, there was a high correlation between subsidence (the sinking of land or buildings to a lower level), and groundwater extraction.

“The current subsiding rate in Kelantan is very much like Jakarta before the 1970s. The growing demand for groundwater in the Indonesian city drove a massive groundwater extraction that led to increased subsidence rates.”

“As a result, about 40% of Jakarta is now below sea level,” Dr Yong said, adding that the state government should take measures now before the situation worsens.

Source: The New York Times

Authorities to take action before it worsens

Meanwhile, the study also found that the demand for clean water in Kelantan has grown significantly since 2010 due to industrial development and is expected to continue growing. Unfortunately, this would lead to an increase in the subsidence rate.

“The subsidence rate will go up due to the lack of a scientific approach to control the balance between groundwater usage and recharge rate. In the worst-case scenario, we can expect an acceleration of subsidence due to economic growth.”

“However, this prediction is inconclusive without further data analysis,” Dr Yong said.

Nonetheless, Dr Yong’s finding shared similar opinion to a 2015 study carried out by Ami Hassan Din from University Teknologi Malaysia.

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