Wet – Yeah, Right!

The Lone Grey Squirrel’s secret hideout is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  I know I’ve kind of just given away the secret location but hey, it’s still not as if you will find the hideout on Google Map.

Now what you should know about Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia is that it is an equatorial country with a vast equatorial rainforest.  According to all geography text books, encyclopedias and even Wikipedia, this means that the place is hot and wet.  Equatorial = hot and rainforest = wet.

Well it looks like all those books and websites are defunct.

We are supposed to get about 2360 mm of wet, refreshing rain every year with February being one of the dryer months still getting  145 mm.   Most of the time in February, we can expect it to rain on 53% of the days.

So why is it that this year there has been almost no rain at all?  Many places in Malaysia have not had rain for at least 20 days and a few areas have not had rainfall for a month.  In Kuala Lumpur, we finally got a small splattering of rain these last two days.; not a lot but just enough to make the accumulated dust on my car turn into caked mud!

So now in Kuala Lumpur and the state of Selangor, we are faced with water rationing as our water reserves drop to critical levels.  I once attended an experts’ meeting on water resources about 10 years ago in which the issue of future water shortages and climate change was raised.  Despite the scientific paper presented by one of the speakers on the topic, it was clear that many of the government officials did not take it seriously.  When I spoke to some of them, they merely felt that whatever challenges would arise in the future, they would be able to use technology or engineering to resolve it.  “Just build more dams.” they said.

Well, now we are facing water rationing in what should be a water rich country.   Taps are running dry, crops are failing and the air is thick with haze from the record 7,000 forest and bush fires last month.  Currently, some 2.5 million Malaysians will receive water for two days followed by two days without water.  Some really unfortunate households only get two pails of water delivered to them each day by water tankers.  This is expected to go on for at least till the end of March when it is hoped that some rain will come.

But there really is no guarantee that the rain will come.  The authorities tried to do cloud seeding but the most we got was that little bit that was absorbed by the dust on my car.

I think they are now resorting to more traditional ways.  The bomoh.  The Malay version of a witch doctor, the bomoh is believed to be able to cast spells and influence the weather.  Bomohs are often used to help teams win soccer games but judging from Malaysia’s FIFA world soccer ranking of 150 (out of 207), doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence in their abilities!

Traditional "Match-Fixing" by Bomoh
Traditional “Match-Fixing” by Bomoh

So my friends, beware of climate change and human arrogance.  A very parched and smelly un-showered squirrel signing off.  Have to go store water instead of nuts.

10 thoughts on “Wet – Yeah, Right!”

  1. Water restrictions mean one thing – beer. Not ideal but … Wait a minute, who am I kidding, of course it’s ideal! Good luck.

  2. I am convinced some of this is cyclical. We went through years of drought in California, then several winters of flooding.

    But you’re right, humans have screwed it all up.

  3. Wow. We just got (a much needed) storm of rain and snow. The melt-off is giving us much needed water to save. We practice frugality with water, saving the “warm up” water in the shower and now in the sinks, too (the warm up water does a good job of keeping my house plants going). Still, we are semi-desert here, to it is to be expected.

    For you to have it where you are at is extreme. (Isn’t it frustrating when authorities bury their heads in the sand?) I hope you get some relief soon.

    BTW, the squirrel in my avatar was on our deck, watching me swing on the deck below. “What ARE you doing?” he wanted to know. Our squirrels all died off in some disease that went thru a few years ago. We have chipmunks now, but hope the squirrels return soon. The disease came from the west and moved to the east. We have heard that there are squirrels west of us again, and hope they reach us before long.

  4. Riot Kitty,
    Certainly, some things are cyclical but the pattern in Malaysia has always been wet and less wet but never earth scorching and cracking dry before. The number of fires are also the highest by a large margin. But in the east coast there was flooding last year in areas that have never flooded before. Both the drier west coast and the wetter east coast were predicted by the climate change model.

    But we don’t even have to go that far to see human folly. One of the rivers that we get our drinking water from is out of bounds due to excessive ammonia concentration from the factories we have allowed to be built along its banks.

  5. Kateekat,
    I remember the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” which had the lyrics “don’t it always seem to go, that we don’t know what we got till it’s gone”. Hopefully we will wake up before the things in life we know and enjoy are all gone.
    I do hope squirrels will grace your deck again soon.

  6. Caramba ! Water shortage and all – I always thought of Malaysia and Indonesia as those parts of the world where rain comes in a clockwork way: The problem being too much, not too less. I was absolutely wrong ! And KL being not just a village – the impact must be serious on any level : Socially, economically, health related, spiritually. If it gets worse there may be grim times ahead LGS.
    I think I read (years ago) that Jakarta is basically working on something like a master plan, connecting factors like public transport, disposal of waste, central water supply etc. – but it was years ago that I read about it, and I am not sure that something really was done. As for KL and all around – it may be an even larger task !
    I only hope someone starts to think about it now.

  7. Mago,
    Caramba indeed! The weather forecast is still for no rain for the next 10 days at least. The satellite picture of the area is frustrating as we can see rain south and east of Malaysia but we are dry. Now though focus here is on the missing Malaysian airlines plane.

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