Talks to prepare for possible water emergency

The Star, 10 Apr 2014

SHAH ALAM: Discussions are underway to prepare for a possible water emergency to be declared in Selangor if major dams in the state reach critical stage.

Selangor Water Management Au­thority (Luas) director Md Khairi Selamat said there would be a chance of this and that the authority had discussed with the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).

“But we have not reached that stage yet,” he said, noting that any decision on the matter would be announced either by SPAN, which regulates water supply in the state, or the Selangor government.

“They will decide the best way to go about it and if a water emergency is declared, further water rationing will be required,” he added.

On whether it will be possible to have a water exchange between the dams to mitigate supply issues, Md Khairi said there was no infrastructure for that to take place.

“Unlike electricity, which is easier to transfer between sources, water distribution involves pressure pumps and gravity, so the task is heavier,” he added.

Md Khairi said a long-term solution was to harvest excess water from rivers during heavy rainfall seasons and store them in former mining areas for future use.

“A study has been made on this, and now we are left with dis­­cussions to acquire the necessary land, some of which are privately owned. The entire project is estimated to take five years to complete,” he added.

At the moment, water treatment plants in the state only process river water but does not store water that exceeds the maximum level, leaving the excess to go straight to the sea.

Water and Energy Consumer Asso­ciation of Malaysia secretary-general Foon Weng Lian advised consumers to conserve water, as water rationing was better than an emergency.

“At the same time, non-revenue water should also be reduced in order to have more water to be supplied to consumers,” he added.

Some 33.1% of Selangor’s water supply is non-revenue water (NRW), or water lost through leakages and thefts.

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