WITH no sign of a go-ahead for the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS) and the possibility of facing another delay, Penang is looking into alternative plans for its water needs.
Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said five projects under a contingency plan would help support the state’s water needs until 2050.
“SPRWTS is a raw water project that requires seven years to complete.
“It was first delayed in 2013 and again in 2018.
“We are now looking at a possible third delay.
“During a recent meeting with the Perak Mentri Besar, we told him that we wanted to sign an agreement this year and start the project next year for it to be completed by 2030,” said Jaseni in a press conference at Komtar in George Town, Penang.
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Perak had said it was unable to supply raw water from Sungai Perak to Penang as proposed under SPRWTS, because studies indicated that the state did not have enough water for its own use.
SPRWTS has been proposed by PBAPP to tap Sungai Perak as a second and alternative raw water resource to meet future water demand needs for Penang and northern Perak.
However, Jaseni said the five projects were under its Raw Water Contingency Plan 2030 (RWCP 2030) to ensure water supply security for Penang.
Under RWCP 2030, it would produce 569 million litres per day (MLD), thus increasing the maximum design capacity from the current 1,599 MLD to 2,168 MLD.
Among the plans are to complete two upgrading projects at the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant, build two new water treatment plants near the Mengkuang and Sungai Muda Dams as well as explore Sungai Perai as an additional raw water source.
On Penang’s plan to increase water tariff to raise funds and implement RWCP 2030 projects, Jaseni said PBAPP submitted its application to the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) at the end of last month.
“We have to renew our licence every three years and have submitted our business plan for between 2023 and 2025 to SPAN.
“The water tariff review is part of the business plan but details are confidential until approved,” said Jaseni.
He added that all states have put in their submissions and the plans would be reviewed by the Environment and Water Ministry before they are tabled in Cabinet for final approval.
The results are expected to be known within three months.
Earlier, Jaseni and Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow launched a water conservation programme for schools in Penang.
The water management project dubbed “Negalitres for Schools” is targeting 100 schools for the installation of water-saving equipment and education on ways to reduce water consumption.
Water Watch Penang president Prof Dr Chan Ngai Weng said the project would involve a maximum of 34 schools per year, including primary and secondary level, encompassing two components — software and hardware.
“Apart from replacing parts such as taps, we will educate teachers and students on conserving water.
“At least 3,000 students will be educated on reducing consumption of treated water and 600 teachers trained.
“We believe the programme will help save at least 10% of water consumption,” he said.
Chow, in his speech, said water shortage was a national issue.
“I think the attitude towards water is very important.
“If a person does not realise the value of water, then he or she will not appreciate water.
“We are not short of water supply, but in need of better water management as a whole,” he said.