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Friday, July 30, 2010

Averting Selangor’s water crisis



“Let’s set aside our differences because the project is for the convenience of the people. Besides, it is fully funded by the federal government.”

“Based on the projection, Selangor is expected to face water shortage by 299 [million litres per day] from 2012.”

(Source: peterchin.my)

(Source: peterchin.my)

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin, saying Selangor is due for a water crisis by 2014 if the current state government under the Pakatan Rakyat continues to delay land approval for the Langat 2 treatment plant to be built. This plant is meant to treat raw water from Pahang.

Under the project which was approved by the federal government, the plant, costing RM8.65 billion, is to ensure supply for increasing water demand in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya until 2025. In a later statement, Chin said water usage was projected to grow by 2% to 3.5% annually, according to research by the Economic Planning Unit. He said demand for clean treated water would begin exceeding supply by the end of 2010. (Source:Delay in Langat plant: KL, Selangor, Putrajaya face water woes, Bernama as quoted in The Star, 13 July 2010)

“The Selangor government recommends that the implementation of the Pahang-Selangor water transfer project should only begin in 2016. There is no need to treat this project as a priority or in a rush[ed] manner without regard for a holistic understanding of the water resources in Selangor, including taking into consideration the water restructuring process.”

“We also believe that other alternatives should be prioritised instead of a large, lucrative construction contract like Pahang-Selangor water transfer.”

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, refuting the federal government’s claim that the state would have a water crisis by 2014. He said the state had consulted experts who looked at the population growth rate, water usage, and current supply capacity, and believed that there was enough supply until 2019.

Khalid also said the state would take other measures like cutting losses from non-revenue water, and exploring other water sources like rainwater, lakes, and underground water.

The raw water transfer from Pahang could begin later, in 2016, so as to avoid further debt for the country, he added. (Source: Enough water for all in Selangor, KL: MB Khalid, The Star, 20 July 2010)

“I’m warning the Selangor government not to gamble the state’s future. When we have run out of water, not only PKR will suffer but everyone will be affected. Investors will stop coming.”

Selangor Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar, warning the state government to ensure water supply before a crisis happened. He also challenged Khalid to name the experts cited who said that current water supply could last up to 2019.

Noh said the state was not planning for the future, and accused it of politicising the federal government-approved Pahang-Selangor raw water transfer project, which includes building the Langat 2 treatment plant. Other Barisan Nasional leaders like Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin have also played up fears of a water crisis by 2014. (Source: Pre-empt water crisis, Noh tells Selangor, The Malaysian Insider, 22 July 2010)

“[Alternative water resources] does not make sense because they are not sustainable and cannot provide supply all year round. Lakes and underground sources take time to build their water volume and, therefore, might not be able to quickly replace the amount syphoned out to water treatment plants.”

Chin, responding to Khalid’s argument that Selangor would look at alternative water supply sources. The minister said water sources have to be consistent and easy to replenish so that there would be no disruption to supply. (Source: Alternative water resources cannot provide supply all year round, says minister, The Star, 28 July 2010)

“The truth is, projections on water supply and usage in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya are based on records and experience 10 years before privatisation[,] and facts and actual records for a period of five years after privatisation.”

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) chief operating officer Datuk Lee Miang Koi, refuting Khalid’s projection that current water supply will last until 2019. He says 2014 is based on a national study conducted in 2000 by the Economic Planning Unit.

Lee also said Syabas had managed to reduce non-revenue water loss to 32.36% since December 2009. But, he claimed, Syabas was unable to further reduce the figure because of a freeze order on works due to the ongoing dispute between the state and the federal government over the restructuring of Selangor’s water concession agreements. (Source:Syabas denies Selangor MB’s statement on water crisis in the Klang Valley, Bernama, 23 July 2010)

“[The project is] RM9 billion for just 15 years. What happens next?”

“No study on the impact on climate change was carried out when the dam was first proposed in 1998, despite our demands.”

DAP Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Santiago, saying transferring water from Pahang to Selangor was not a viable long-term solution as supply under the project was only good up until 2025. He also accused the federal government of manufacturing claims of a water crisis in 2014. (DAP: Sourcing water from Pahang not a long-term solution, The Malaysian Insider, 23 July 2010)

Meanwhile, the Water and Energy Consumers Association of Malaysia (Wecam) has said that water consumption levels are indeed rising. Secretary-general S Piarapakaran said the risk of water rationing in Selangor was real if the state and federal governments did not resolve their disputes.

He said pending the dispute, maintenance work on pipes and distribution mains were not being carried out, and there was a risk of losing more non-revenue water. On the other hand, DAP leaders like Santiago said the federal government was rushing the Pahang-Selangor water transfer project because it was being pressured by contractors who wanted payment.

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said Umno was attacking Selangor over water supply and sand mining because “cronies” needed money from projects. Khalid said the state wouldcommission a study to determine current water consumption levels as the 2000 data was outdated.

courtesy of Nut Graph

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