Melaka told to look for new water sources


  • Nation
  • Friday, 20 Sep 2019

PETALING JAYA: The state of Melaka should look into finding new sources of water, including underground water, to avoid shortages in the future, says National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Charles Santiago.

“There should also be conservation efforts by households as well as recycling and conservation by companies.

“Also, conservation is an ongoing process, so the state government as well as NGOs should be involved in it, ” he said when contacted yesterday.

Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari had reportedly said that Melaka uses 600 million litres of water per day, and the state is facing an overall shortfall.

Yesterday’s readings showed that the current capacity at the Jus dam is 19,165 million litres (42.6% of capacity), while the Durian Tunggal dam stands at 6,470 million litres (19.8% of capacity), and the Asahan dam at 215 million litres (30.7% of capacity).

Santiago said the entire country needs to rethink its water priorities in the long term.

“This is a big issue, and it needs to be thought out right. I hope the upcoming Budget 2020 will have allocation for recycling, conservation and finding new sources of water.

“Perhaps companies with equipment to recycle water could be given some tax exemptions.”

Santiago said the lack of rain during the haze had added to the problem.

Checks at the dams in Selangor mostly showed a capacity of between 80% and 98%, except for Sungai Selangor which recorded a 69% capacity.

Santiago also suggested that Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas issue certificates under Section 22 of the Courts of Judicature Act which enables the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to be extraterritorial.

This would be applicable to companies operating out of the country, and enable the government to investigate and act against Malaysian companies in Indonesia who are accused of open burning there.

“The government should also use the same Act to go after smallholders and big companies operating here as hotspots show raging fires in Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Sarawak.

“Kuching recently earned the dubious title of the most air-polluted city in the world. And Kuala Lumpur isn’t that far behind, ” said Santiago, who is also Klang DAP lawmaker.

He also said that a thorough independent investigation should be conducted, not just against companies operating in Indonesia, but also local companies responsible for causing hotspots in the country.

“Those found to have flouted the law must have their licences suspended indefinitely and complaints lodged with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

“Otherwise, it will do no justice to the Malaysians who are forced to breathe severely polluted air every day, ” he said.

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