KUALA LUMPUR: Water woes are far from over within the Klang Valley, with rationing affecting 6.7 million people and talk of an extension to the exercise.
According to concessionaire Syabas, the biggest gripe of those affected is supply taking too long to resume after every two days of dry taps.
The delay is due to factors, including the differences in the size and length of the pipes and pumping pressure, so some areas may receive water later than others, said Syabas.
Syabas is continuously fine-tuning the rationing plan to ensure all consumers receive water as scheduled, said its corporate communications assistant general manager Priscilla Alfred. It is also working closely with high-rise residential premises to manage the storage level of their rooftop tanks.
“A common issue is that the water supply is released before the level stabilises, leading to residents living on lower floors ‘drawing out’ water before it even reaches residents on the higher floors,” Alfred said.
“We are using a high-tech system known as Scada (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) as well as telemetry and hydraulic modelling to determine areas that can be affected.”
Scada monitors the various pumps and pipelines around Selangor round the clock, and is able to detect discrepancies such as stopped or tripped pumps, as well as water reservoir levels and usage trends.
Consumers who are not receiving water on their scheduled days of supply can ask Syabas to despatch a water tanker to their area.
The lack of water can also be caused by burst pipes – a common occurrence during water rationing.
“Burst pipes can occur when an airlock is formed by compressed air,” Alfred said, adding that if a burst pipe occurred, Syabas would “downshift” rationing in the affected area.
Another common complaint is over the current two days on, two days off system. Some consumers are calling for the rationing period to be cut to a day.
According to Syabas, the latter is inefficient, and the alternate-two-day rationing is necessary since the areas affected are large.
“Water flow to these areas will take time to stop and start. Suction pools need to refill first before the water can be pumped to the service areas,” said Alfred.
The recent rainy weather has not come close to solving the issue of Selangor’s water shortage since much of the rain has not fallen near the catchment area, especially in Sungai Selangor, which serves 62% of the Klang Valley residents.
“The rationing plan was put in place by the Selangor state government with SPAN’s approval, not Syabas. The extra water in rivers will be used to increase output of treated water and distributed to areas under rationing, but this is only a temporary solution,” said Alfred.