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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Selangor to revive Bukit Jelutong water plant for ‘membrane technology’

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — The Selangor government today announced plans to restore the now-defunct 1963-built Bukit Jelutong water treatment plant as a pioneer project for its proposed “membrane technology” which the federal government has snubbed, estimating to boost the state’s treated water production by an additional 100 million litres daily.
In a statement here, state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the cost of rehabilitating and repairing the plant is estimated at between RM50 million and RM80 million and reparatory works should be completed within six months.
The state government, he added, will bear the full cost of construction.
“The state government has directed a consultant firm to complete its study of the plant within two months, and to include an evaluation by the Macro and Privatisation section of the Selangor Economic Planning Unit (EPU),” he said in a statement here after visiting the plant in Section 13, Shah Alam, today.
Jayakumar said that once completed, the plant should produce between 50 million and 100 million litres of treated water daily, which he said should be sufficiently make up for half the water needs of Shah Alam folk.
“This is among the Selangor government’s efforts to seek alternative water sources, as well as implement new technology in order to provide sufficient treated water to the citizens of Selangor,” he said.
The Bukit Jelutong water treatment plant was built in 1963 and was closed in early 1995 due to a polluted segment in its water sourced from the Damansara river.
The Pakatan Rakyat-led (PR) Selangor government has been locked in a protracted dispute over future plans for water management in the state, likely a major campaign issue when polls are held soon.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government has been warning of an impending water shortage, which it earlier claimed could arrive as soon as 2014 but later revised to 2017.
It has also pressed on with plans to construct the RM3 billion Langat 2 plant, which will treat water from Pahang, but BN’s political foes in PR have insisted that this is not the best or most economically viable alternative.
Instead, PR has suggested to use the “membrane technology” to boost water production at existing plants at a fraction of the cost at only RM800 million, saying this would be the cheapest option to allay current fears of an impending water crisis.
But in Parliament yesterday, Putrajaya again refused to back down from its Langat 2 plans declaring that it was the best option to prevent what it says will be an impending water shortage in the country’s richest state.
Deputy Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon told the Dewan Rakyat that the Selangor government’s proposed alternative to use the “membrane technology” at existing water plants may only boost production in the short term but may not meet the state’s long-term projection.
“Additionally, if there is need to upgrade the existing plant in order to use this membrane technology, I suspect the cost would be high,” she said when replying to Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) during Question Time.
“We started our research since the late 1990s and we have calculated all possibilities.
“The federal government has already made a decision that the most economic and viable option is by transferring water from Pahang to Selangor,” she said.
The controversial Langat 2 plant, which the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have been determined to reject, will treat water brought in from Pahang and is expected to produce some 1.3 million litres of water daily.
But when rebutting Noriah, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim pointed out to the Dewan Rakyat that there was no need for the Langat 2 plant as the state’s current production of treated water is already at five million litres a day.
He explained that the state also records non-revenue water (NRW) wastage of 1.5 million daily, which far surpasses the 1.3 million litres to be produced by Langat 2.
“In my research, the cost of upgrading our 10 of 27 treatment plants only comes up to RM800 million... compared to the RM3 billion for Langat 2,” he said.

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