KUALA LUMPUR: The water industry is big business with huge potential, but revenue loss from leakages, burst pipes and water theft are among some of key issues that needed to be addressed quickly for the industry to prosper, according to the organiser of AsiaWater2014.
An estimated 37% of processed water in the country are lost before it can be billed.
“Non-revenue water (NRW) is one of the highest figures in the world. Some water is usually lost due through evaporation and this is normal but it is also lost due to burst pipes and also stolen without going through the meters,” managing director for Asean business at UBM Malaysia M Gandhi said in an interview.
“The fundamental problem locally is that we don’t value water. High rainfall is one of the greatest natural assets we have and if managed properly we can be very competitive in the industry. Many countries, including neighbouring countries, are expected to face water shortage in the next 50 years,” he said.
With taps running dry at thousands of households in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya in recent weeks, Gandhi said the biggest challenge for water planners was to ensure sustainable supply in the future.
“We need to now have extreme plans catering for weather extremities with too much rain to no rain at all (lasting for several months). This will be a big challenge for water planners moving forward,” he said.
According to statistics from the Global Water Intelligence, the biggest capital expenditure component in water infrastructure is civil engineering including construction (53%), followed by pipes (13.7%), valves (7.3%) and pumps (3.5%).
Gandhi noted that with the threat of climate change, there was an opportunity for Malaysia to be competitive and develop its own capital and expertise for the water and waste water industry.
The three-day AsiaWater 2014 expo and conference, which starts today, is the eighth in its series targetting at industry players, corporate and government decision makers. The event will be participated by about 40 countries and about 700 exhibitors.