GEORGE TOWN: Perak and Penang will both enjoy enhanced water security once the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS) is implemented.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pic) said the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry had received proposals from the private sector for the water transfer project.
The project, first mooted in 2009, will see the construction of a water tunnel connecting Sungai Perak-Sungai Ijok-Sungai Kerian.
The Penang Water Supply Corporation will then build a water treatment plant in the southern side of Penang where water can be extracted and treated there.
Chow, however, said nothing had been firmed up pending a discussion with the Perak government.
“The Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme will see water being transferred from Sungai Perak to Penang and be treated and supplied to consumers and industries.
“We want to convince the people of Perak that the flowing of water from Sungai Perak to Penang will not affect their agricultural industries.
“The treated water will benefit the people and industries in northern Perak as well,” he said after launching the Water Security Conference organised by Asian Development Bank and Penang Institute yesterday.
Chow said a study done in 2014 had identified Sungai Perak as an alternative water resource.
The SPRWTS is expected to cater to the water demands of Penangites until 2050.
He said water authorities brought the matter to the ministry, adding that he was confident the project would be given the nod.
“Perak is more interested to sell treated water to us, which is expensive, while Penang wants to acquire raw water.“We need to negotiate to satisfy the wishes of both states, and achieve a win-win solution between Penang, Perak and Kedah in tackling the water issue.
“No doubt the project will be implemented, but the question is how and when,” he said, adding that Sungai Muda supplied 50% of water to Perlis, 80% to Penang and 96% to Kedah.
He also urged the federal government to gazette Ulu Muda as a water catchment area to ensure sustainable water supply to the three northern states – Penang, Kedah and Perlis.
Meanwhile, Penang Works and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the state was still waiting for a study by the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry before revealing the infrastructure of the project.
“Perak and Penang have to sit together and agree first. Right now we don’t even have an agreement,” he said.