GEORGE TOWN: The state government gazetted over 6,000 hectares of land as water catchment areas in 2004, says the Chief Minister.
Chow Kon Yeow said Penang gazetted 6,288ha of land under the Water Supply Act 1998 in 2004.
"The land, of which 70% is permanent forest reserves, was gazetted as part of the Water Supply (Catchment Area) Order 2004 on Dec 2,2004.
"These efforts began when the Federal Government through the National Forest Council meeting decided that all states should gazette the forest catchment areas in 2004.
"The claims that we have yet to gazette any of our land is due to a new requirement where water catchment areas must now be gazetted under the National Forestry Act 1984 upon instruction by the National Land Council in August 2019.
"We started working on it last year but it was delayed due to the pandemic.
"The Penang Forestry Department expects to do the necessary by June 2021," he told a press conference in Komtar here on Thursday (Dec 17).
Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Dec 15) that the Penang government had yet to gazette any of the 3,398.94ha of land that is supposed to be turned into water catchment areas to better manage the supply of water in the northern region.
He said other state governments had already done their part, except for the Penang government.
He said he also hoped that the Penang government would explore more underground water sources so that it would be less dependent on the existing water supply.