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Acute water shortage looming in Kuala Lumpur

Publication Date : 25-07-2014

 

Water consumption in the Klang Valley is expected to fall when the Eid al-Fitr balik kampung (going home) exodus starts today, but consumers had better brace for a mega water problem when residents return from their festive break.

According to experts, water supply in the area was worrying and could worsen after the Eid al-Fitr holidays because of the falling levels at the Sungai Selangor dam and unusually dry spell.

Yesterday, the water level at the dam – the source of 60 per cent of the water supply in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor – fell to 36.18 per cent.

This was below the lowest level of 36.53 per cent recorded during the last rationing exercise, according to Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) statistics.

“Water use in the Klang Valley should be reduced during Eid al-Fitri as a lot of people will go back to their hometowns,” said Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) president S. Piarapakaran.

“Consumption will rise, and sharply, when everyone returns, and this is when a problem could occur if the level at the Sungai Selangor dam keeps falling at the current rate,” he added.

Rationing was imposed in the Klang Valley and Selangor on March 2 and lifted on May 1 after the water level dipped below 40 per cent. The critical level for the dam is 30 per cent.

The Selangor government has no plans as yet to apply to the National Water Services Commission (Span) to impose rationing.

“We are monitoring the situation weekly to look at whether there is a need to consider such a possibility,” said Youth and Sports, Infra­structure and Public Facilities Committee chairman Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi.

He later issued a statement saying that the state government had requested for cloud-seeding to be undertaken and was waiting for a response from the National Security Council.

He was quoted by Bernama as saying that Luas, the Selangor Drainage and Irrigation Department and state-owned firm Kumpulan Semesta was pumping water 24 hours a day from disused mining pools at Bestari Jaya to Sungai Selangor to ensure adequate supply.

Span chairman Ismail Kassim confirmed that the state government had not applied to implement water rationing.

“We will hold a meeting after Eid al-Fitri to discuss the matter,” he said.

Several water experts including Piarapakaran had earlier warned that the 40 per cent threshold for the lifting of rationing was too low, with Luas even stating that all dams must reach a 55 per cent level before the rationing exercise could be stopped.

Fomca deputy-secretary general Foon Weng Lian said the state government should provide more information to the public about the water situation.

“They have repeatedly assured the public that there is enough water to last until Eid al-Fitri, but the situation is clearly worrying,” said Foon.

 

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