‘No water’ notice comes too late


Making every drop count: Hawkers and residents collecting water supplied from a Bomba water tanker at Jelutong market.

GEORGE TOWN: Hundreds of thousands of people on Penang island found themselves without water overnight due to a scheduled water cut that was not expected to affect them.

There was a 48-hour scheduled water cut due to repairs for mainlanders, but islanders were not informed about it until 7am yesterday.

As a result, weekend events, including weddings, birthday and holiday celebrations, especially on the southern side of the island, were left high and dry.

Norita Ismail, 56, who had organised a thanksgiving feast at her house in Teluk Kumbar, said she was shocked when told by friends that there was no water from the taps at their own events.

“We prepared everything, from food and drinks to inviting guests and everything else,” she said yesterday.

She said her local surau members and other villagers helped to fetch water from a nearby well to make sure her feast could carry on.

She expressed frustration that the water authority had not given an earlier warning of the cut.

Housewife Hasliza Nusi, 38, in Bukit Gedong, said she knew that the water disruption for mainland Penang had reached her side in the south of the island when no water came out as she was taking a shower at 6am yesterday.

Carrying on: Norita (left) pouring water for her grandchildren during a thanksgiving feast she had organised at her house in Kampung Masjid Teluk Kumbar. Norita decided to go ahead with the event as it was too late to cancel and with help from villagers, who lugged water from a nearby well, the feast went on as planned.Carrying on: Norita (left) pouring water for her grandchildren during a thanksgiving feast she had organised at her house in Kampung Masjid Teluk Kumbar. Norita decided to go ahead with the event as it was too late to cancel and with help from villagers, who lugged water from a nearby well, the feast went on as planned.

“Luckily, we have a water tank in our house for cooking.”

She said the water disruption notice reached her only at 7am yesterday.

A check showed that in several areas on the island, people including hawkers were scrambling to haul pails of water.

At Batu Lanchang market, a Penang Island City Council water tanker was seen supplying water to affected residents and hawkers.

Diner dash: A hawker at the Cecil Market food court trying to keep up with the washing, while rationing water, as cups and plates pile up on tables.Diner dash: A hawker at the Cecil Market food court trying to keep up with the washing, while rationing water, as cups and plates pile up on tables.

At Jelutong, the Lebuh Bakau voluntary fire squad used their fire engine to send water to their neighbourhood.

Squad spokesman Ong Theam Hock said the voluntary fire brigade was deployed since morning to help those affected by the water disruption.

“We also went to Jalan Perak, Jelutong, Perak Lane and Karpal Singh Drive,” he said, adding that they had supplied 15,000 litres of water.

Diner dash: A hawker at the Cecil Market food court trying to keep up with the washing, while rationing water, as cups and plates pile up on tables.Diner dash: A hawker at the Cecil Market food court trying to keep up with the washing, while rationing water, as cups and plates pile up on tables.

According to Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP), areas on the island affected included Gelugor, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Batu Uban, Jalan Sungai Dua, Jalan Kampung Jawa, Kawasan Perindustrian FTZ/FIZ, Jalan Tengah, Taman Pekaka, Jalan Aziz Ibrahim, Bukit Jambul and Bayan Baru.

Also affected were the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, Pulau Jerejak, Penang International Airport, Bayan Lepas, Persiaran Mayang Pasir, Taman Bukit Dumbar, Batu Maung, Teluk Kumbar, Bukit Gedung, Balik Pulau and Jalan Tun Dr Awang.

In a statement, PBAPP said the water disruption was caused by a technical fault in the handling of the valve replacement work at the Sungai Dua water treatment plant.

“The increase in raw water turbidity in Lahar Tiang following recent flash floods in Baling, Kedah, affected repairs,” it added.

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