The Sungai Nenggiri here, which is the lifeline for farming, fishing and transport for riverine villagers, is also drying up under the hot weather as the water level is receding with mud, sandbanks and rocks starting to emerge.

Motor-boat driver Muhamad Fakhry Sharif, 27, said the river has been drying up since early last week.

He said the situation required them to be extra careful since the receding watercourse posed a risk to navigation in their boating jobs.

“We detected that Sungai Nenggiri has receded by more than two metres since the beginning of this week. We are aware of the safety risks in steering the boat at low tide, but we have to continue working for passengers and also to catch fish.

“We hope this hot weather will not last long so we can continue our activities along the river as usual. Besides rubber-tapping and agriculture, many villagers turn to fishing to supplement their daily needs,” he said in Kampung Bertam Baru here.

An outboard engine boat pilot Shaari Mustapa, 55, said that some boatmen have stopped working in the meantime because they worry about the risks they face in navigation.

According to Shaari, who has over 40 years of experience operating boats, only skilled boatmen continue to earn a living by ferrying passengers or searching for river produce.

“With the experience I have, I already know the ins and outs of the Sungai Nenggiri current. Most newcomers or outsiders will stop boating on this river when the water recedes because of the many challenges in the river topography with many sandbars, wooden stumps and large rocks emerging,” he said.

Shaari added that boat transport is the preferred choice for passengers to travel to Kampung Lulut or Kuala Sungai, which only takes about 15 minutes compared to over two hours via the land route.

He said the outboard engine boat fares ranged between RM80 and RM15 per a day (charter).

Source: BERNAMA News Agency