GEORGE TOWN: Legislation is needed to gazette the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve in Kedah as a ‘Northern Region Water Catchment Area’, said the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP).
Its chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said with laws to monitor and manage Ulu Muda, the reserve will receive protection not only as a rainforest area but also as a regional catchment area.
“There should also be federal compensation to Kedah for conserving Ulu Muda, as well as to Perlis and Penang.
“It is vital to gazette Ulu Muda as a water catchment area and only then can we guarantee raw water security for Kedah, Perlis and Penang,” he said.
Ulu Muda encompasses 163,103 ha of rainforest.
About 70% of Perlis’ raw water, 96% of Kedah’s raw water and more than 80% of Penang’s raw water originates from Ulu Muda.
In September, logging in Ulu Muda was banned. It is understood that several measures proposed to ensure proper and sustainable protection in the water catchment area have yet to be adopted.
Jaseni said high per capita domestic water consumption was a key challenge in sustaining the water supply for Penang until 2050.
He said Penang’s per capita domestic consumption is 278 litres/capita/day, the highest in Malaysia.
He said the national average is 201 litres/capita/day.
“The national target is 180 litres/capita/day as recommended by the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry.
“If we use less water we can provide additional water to more customers with existing water supply infrastructure.
“We need to save water so that the children and next generation can enjoy what we are enjoying now.
“For now, we urge Penangites to use water saving devices (WSD).
“The state has made it mandatory for all developers to install WSD in all new development projects,” said Jaseni.