WE often take rivers for granted and need to be reminded of the importance of this natural raw water source.
Sungai Klang for instance, stretching some 120km, has been heavily polluted for decades. The river has 13 major tributaries and is the fourth largest river basin in Malaysia.
However, worry not. After decades of neglect, Sungai Klang will be revived and given a new life.
The federal and state governments have also worked closely to restore Sungai Klang, unlocking its full potential for recreational, economic and tourism activities as well as the new raw water source.
The negative perception of Sungai Klang will soon change as in the next few years it will become the new raw water source for Air Selangor’s new water treatment plant, serving mainly the Klang and Petaling regions.
The need for Rasau Water Supply Scheme
Air Selangor battled river pollution incidents on multiple occasions last year which directly affected the consumers with water disruptions.
Being a single source of raw water supply, the Sungai Selangor Scheme is at risk because there is no backup supply, while the Langat 2 water treatment plant is unable to supply water to the Klang region due to the uneconomical long distribution or transmission pipeline.
Considering that, the need to identify new raw water sources has always been a priority for Air Selangor in ensuring continuous treated water supply.
With an overall water reserve margin as of January 2021 at 12.8% in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Air Selangor is actively identifying new water sources to ensure its 8.4 million consumers continue to receive clean and continuous water supply.
The good news is, Sungai Klang as the new water source will help increase the water reserve margin to above 15%, thus ensuring a sustainable water future. This can be achieved through the construction of the Rasau Water Supply Scheme project.
Did you know that Sungai Klang is the third largest water catchment area in Selangor with about 1,288sqkm after Sungai Selangor and Sungai Langat?
However, only 7% of the freshwater from Sungai Klang is used for potable water. This project will use the water source from Sungai Klang optimally.
Biggest off-river storage facility project in Malaysia
The Rasau Water Supply Scheme is considered to be the biggest Off-River Storage (ORS) facility project in the country.
The construction of the scheme would cut across several major highways namely the North-South Expressway Central Link (ELITE), Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS), West-Coast Expressway (WCE) and the South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE).
Through the Rasau Water Supply Scheme, nine existing tin mining ponds of 489 hectares have been identified as a potential water source in the form of ORS.
These ponds of various sizes, where the biggest pond in the area is about 185 hectares, are located in the districts of Sepang and Petaling.
As the biggest ORS in the country, the development period would take about two and a half to three years to complete.
Should a river be polluted, the raw water pumping station has the option to stop abstracting water from the river whilst the operations of the water treatment plant will not be affected as the abstraction from water sources is now shifted to the ORS.
With significant improvement in Sungai Klang water quality, this river can be a viable potential water source. There is good potential for these ponds to store raw water received mainly from Sungai Klang and to a lesser extent, from Sungai Air Hitam and Sungai Rasau.
New water supply through Rasau Water Supply Scheme
The Rasau water treatment plant (Rasau WTP) Stage 1 is expected to have the capacity to produce clean water supply of up to 700 million litres per day (MLD) to Pulau Indah, Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), Pulau Ketam, Taman Bukit Lipat Kajang, Seksyen 16, Bukit Rajah Industrial – North Port, Bukit Tinggi and Botanik, Bandar Puteri and Putera 2, Taman Sri Andalas, Taman Sentosa, Bayu Perdana, Bandar Klang, Teluk Gedung, Persiaran Raja Muda Musa, Sobena Jaya, Pandamaran, Jalan Tengku Badar and up to Sijangkang (Kuala Langat) during the first stage of completion in 2024.
In ensuring a sustainable and continuous water supply to the Klang and Petaling regions, Air Selangor plans to complete the second stage of the Rasau Water Supply Scheme project in 2028.
Once completed, the entire Rasau Water Supply Scheme will be able to produce a total capacity of 1,400 MLD.
Currently, preparations to kickstart the development are already in place. These includes activities like land and soil investigation surveys, project risk review, pipe route alignment planning and land acquisition processes.
Air Selangor is also in the midst of obtaining approval from local authorities. To ensure that the project runs smoothly, Air Selangor through the Selangor government has established a special task force to monitor matters related to land acquisition and permit approval and has gained the support from various parties including the Department of Environment in providing advice on areas to focus on in the environmental study that is ongoing.
Planned as a design-and-build project, the procurement process inviting bidders to participate in the pre-qualification round and submit their interest is currently underway. Once the bidding process is finalised, Air Selangor targets to award the first two work packages by November 2021.
Positive impact on consumers
Without the Rasau Water Supply Scheme, the water reserve margin in Klang is expected to drop to 1.9% by 2024. Through the establishment of this water supply scheme, the overall water reserve margin for Selangor, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya is expected to increase above 15%, with the water reserve margin in Klang standing at 20.9% by 2024.
On the flip side, with the new water treatment plant, the water supply distribution will no longer be heavily dependent on the Sungai Selangor Water Supply Scheme’s water treatment plants including the Sungai Selangor Phase (SSP) 1,2 and 3 water treatment plants.
This is because the Rasau Water Supply Scheme can supply more than 60% of clean and safe water to consumers in the Klang region, while the remaining will be sourced from the Sungai Selangor Water Supply Scheme’s water treatment plants.
With the completion of the first stage of the Rasau water treatment plant, areas in the Klang region will receive alternative water supply whenever there is water supply disruption at the Sungai Selangor Water Supply Scheme.
This is due to the interconnectivity of these sources in ensuring the distribution of alternative water supply. Assuming one consumer account utilises 1,500 litres of water per day, the Rasau Water Supply Scheme can supply water to around 467,000 consumer accounts in these areas.
Towards a sustainable future for the water industry
Air Selangor will continuously explore measures to combat existing and future challenges. As it embarks on the journey to build one of the biggest off-river storage facilities in the region, Air Selangor hopes to impart knowledge to all water operators to prepare for a sustainable future within our water industry.
To ensure that Air Selangor is able to provide sustainable and continuous clean and safe water from the Sungai Klang new source, everyone needs to play a part in protecting the river.
This is also in tandem with the essence of the River of Life project at the upstream of Sungai Klang as it will be more meaningful if the water source can be used for various purposes like the well-being of the communities.
This will hopefully in the future help to further stimulate the economy for the betterment of the state, the people and us all.