Worst water shortage occurred in 1998 with 150 days of rationing

PETALING JAYA: The country’s worst water shortage happened in 1998 when drying dams caused water to be rationed for nearly 150 days for 3.2 million residents in the Klang Valley.

The episode – dubbed the “national­ water crisis” – was triggered by a protracted dry spell in the Klang Valley and parts of Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Penang, Kedah and Perlis from March that year.

The dry spell was said to have been brought about by the drought-inducing El-Nino phenomenon when the surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean became warmer, causing unusual­ly dry conditions in many regions across the globe.

A water rationing exercise for the Klang Valley started in April 20, 1998, and ended on Sept 16 that year while in Negri Sembilan, a similar exercise, which started in October 1998, only came to an end in May the following year.

Besides sending out water tankers to the affected areas, many other measures were taken to help counter the shortages during the rationing period.

The Selangor government set up more than 100 “hand-pumps” in residential areas facing water problems.­

The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) rented out some of its static tanks for private functions during the water-rationing exercise while Kuala Lumpur City Hall placed 90 static tanks at its public housing flats and longhouses.

Two water treatment units drawing water from the Mines Wonderland Lake were also installed as a back-up to cater for the Commonwealth Games that year.

To boost the level of Sungai Langat, one of the major water sources in the state, the Selangor government undertook a project in which about 5.4 million litres of underground water was pumped into the river. Bores sunk in three places along the river drew underground water which was then pumped directly into Sungai Langat.

Some unconventional methods were also considered – a local bomoh sent a proposal to then Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, offering to use “mystic powers” to create rain over catchment areas in the Klang Valley.

Following the end of the rationing exercise, then Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Abu Hassan Omar said it had spent about RM50mil, of which RM24.9mil went towards the hiring of water-tank lorries.

An extra RM13.5mil was spent to dig tube wells as well as RM8mil to buy ultrasound units to detect ground water and RM3.4mil for staff overtime.

Related Story: 

Villagers volunteer to fetch water directly from plant

Suffering in Malaysia's richest state

Cloud seeding ops to begin

SPAN approves application for second phase of scheduled disruptions

Kluang water rationing to protect dam's reserve level

17 days of dry taps

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Environment , water rationing , dry spell


Next In Nation

Cops investigating rape allegations implicating assemblyman's associates
Sabah govt appeals for donors to fill depleting blood banks
Umno will not push for snap GE if Covid-19 situation not good, says Tajuddin
Ismail Sabri: 332 arrested for SOP violations on Friday (May 7)
Health DG: Saliva-based Covid-19 tests available to the public soon
Penang cops arrest 15 youths at house party, drugs worth RM1,900 seized
Covid-19: All premises listed in HIDE system must close for three days
MCO to be imposed in Kuantan, several districts in Penang and Perak
Health DG: Covid-19 cases will surpass 5,000 daily by end May – unless Malaysians do their part
Number of self-employed making Socso contributions has doubled since 2019

Stories You'll Enjoy