Dam – it’s beautiful!
Writer: Lin Zhen Yuan
Published: Fri, 22 Jun 2012
Sometimes when the nearest beach is a wee bit too far from where you live, you may go where LIN ZHENYUAN has gone recently.
Some intrepid adventurers scale mountain peaks and add their conquests to their personal portfolio. I rest lower on the totem pole and try to visit as many dams as there are in Selangor.
There are a total of seven in this state. They are the Sungai Selangor dam, Klang Gates dam, Sungai Tinggi dam, Sungai Semenyih dam, Sungai Langat dam, Batu dam and Tasik Subang dam.
Traffic is relatively light along the road that goes up the resort of Fraser’s Hill.
I have so far checked out the Batu, Sungai Langat and Sungai Selangor dams.
The last one so happened to be an accidental pit-stop during my visit to Kuala Kubu Baru.
A friend who made regular trips along the KKB-Fraser’s Hill road recommended that a visit to the dam would be most appropriate since I was already in the vicinity.
Since I have a particular fondness for any vast natural landscape that surrounds a large pool of water, the temptation was overpowering.
The Empangan Sungai Selangor is located five kilometres east of KKB and along the first stage of the 66.5km route up Fraser’s Hill.
At first glance, the wide European-like scenery has a tendency to take a visitor’s breath away. It is as green as it is a vision straight from the garden of heaven.
Its specific location is at a narrow gorge which sits on a gargantuan granite bedrock a little downstream from the confluence of Sungai Gerachi and Sungai Selangor.
The dam is 400 meters wide at its base, 800m long and 110m high. According to official records, the Sungai Selangor dam at full supply capacity covers 600 acres.
It is the only dam out of the seven in Selangor that has the largest storage capacity relative to its area covered with water. The storage capacity is 235 million cubic metres.
It was built as a regulating dam with a catchment area of secondary jungle covering 197 sq km.
During the rainy season, excess water is kept in the reservoir. During dry periods when the water intake is low, water is released into the river.
It is said that during the construction of the dam, two Orang Asli villages comprising 84 families were relocated. The KKB-Fraser’s Hill road was also realigned to accommodate the reservoir masterplan.
Just for those who are interested in some of the relevant components which help the dam to operate smoothly, features like chute spillway, plungepool (energy dissipater), diversion tunnel, coffer dam and Draw-off Tower were also constructed.
Aesthetically, the Sungai Selangor dam ranks as one of the most beautiful in the state because of its proximity to the upward and winding KKB-Fraser’s Hill road.
At 6pm when the sun has sunk behind the distant hills, the sky over the Selangor river dam looks picture perfect.
Small clumps of white clouds rest like cotton puffs on different slopes. They create the kind of pastoral beauty that melts all but the most unfeeling hearts.
On some slopes of the surrounding secondary jungle, there are signs of cultivation which do not rob the environs of its natural beauty.
Before the construction of the dam at its present location, there was a comparative study of five sites.
In the end, with its natural advantages and storage capacity, the Sungai Selangor site was selected as the most appropriate.
The other four were in Rawang, Rening, Beletak and Batang Kali.
The other factors that were in favour of the present site were low environment impact, excellent bedrock foundation and least area of private land affected.
It was deemed that only 113 hectares of private land were affected in the overall area of 600 hectares.
Presently, as a measure to preserve and protect the quality of reservoir water, the entire catchment area encompassing 19,700 hectares has been gazetted as a protected watershed.
In relation to the Sungai Selangor reservoir, there are two treatment plants. One is located in Rasa and the other in Bukit Badong.
All is calm at the water edge of this 800m-long reservoir.
For many Selangor residents, the dams, particularly this one, at first glance are sites that would easily capture any passing motorist’s attention.
The role of the dams is crucial because as of late last month, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim gave an assurance to the public that water reserves in the state “are at a comfortable level”.
The total capacity of the seven Selangor dams currently stands at 522.66 million cubic metres, more than enough to supply all the water treatment plants in the state.
This dam, which was completed almost 10 years ago, is one of the “jewels” of Kuala Kubu Baru.
Cyclists going up or down Fraser’s Hill admire its beauty. Visitors make impromptu stops to absorb its natural beauty and anglers have been known to try their luck at certain strategic spots along the shores of the vast lake.
Next time when you make plans to spend a weekend on Fraser’s Hill, take time off to be up close and personal with the Selangor river dam. The sights and serenity of its landscape are guaranteed to act like a soothing balm for your soul.