PETALING JAYA: The Selangor government has made an “unprofessional and idiotic move” in deciding to end water rationing in all areas as the critically important Sungai Selangor dam’s level is still below 55%, said the Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia.
Its president S. Piarapakaran slammed Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s announcement yesterday as a populist move instead of a sound technical decision.
“The Sungai Selangor dam is only now reaching around the 40% level. This level increased by just 1% after two to three weeks of rain, as well as pumping of ex-mining pool water,” he said.
Piarapakaran noted that the dam supplied 60% of raw water to four major treatment plants with a combined treated water capacity of 2,500 million litres per day (MLD).
This comprised over 50% of total water demand in the Klang Valley, he added, recalling that the Selangor Water Management Authority had from the beginning said all dams must reach 55% before water rationing could be lifted.
“As an engineer, I would agree that water rationing for water from other dams can be lifted as levels are quite good, but not for the Sungai Selangor dam,” he said, questioning why the National Water Services Commission had allowed the “big risk” decision to go ahead.
Piarapakaran said that even if Khalid’s assurance that water samples from ex-mining pools fell within the state health department’s parameters was true, it would still mean little when the predicted dry season hits in June.
He said this was because mining pools were man-made and filled up by rain water, which would be scarce during the dry spell.
“Where are you going to pump the water from? If anything happens to the Sungai Selangor dam, we will be sitting ducks. We could even enter a situation where you receive water once a week,” he warned.
Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia secretary-general Foon Weng Lian said the state government should be more transparent about how it would manage the situation when the anticipated dry spell sets in.
He said the decision to end water rationing was fine if it could be proven from reports and feasibility studies that consumers would not face water woes for the rest of the year.
“We also want to see a post-mortem conducted on the effectiveness of the water rationing exercise. The agencies involved need to study the drop in water use during that period, the hiccups that happened during implementation and ways to improve. This way, we will be better prepared next time,” he said.
Foon said he was also concerned that ending water rationing completely would send the wrong message to consumers that the exercise was not needed in the near future.