Start saving water in view of impending El Nino, consumers urged

PETALING JAYA: To face the coming El Nino phenomenon, consumers are being urged to conserve water as “every drop counts”, says the National Water Service Commission (SPAN).

Its chairman Charles Santiago said users could get daily updates on the state of dams and water treatment plants in the country through the war room set up on June 1 as part of its El Nino preparations.

“The role of the war room is to closely monitor the situation of dams and rivers that supply raw water to water treatment plants nationwide.

“This is to create an awareness among consumers of the state of water as well as the reserves we have.

“We are getting information on a daily basis from all water supply operators, which will be updated in our system for people to access.

“That means that someone in Kedah or Selangor can see for themselves how much water is in the dam.

“It’s important to keep tabs on dams as these store water which goes into the water treatment plants,” he told The Star.

The current water level at most of the dams is at 90% to 95%.

However, Santiago revealed that the water level at three or four dams was currently below 50%.

“Two dams are in Penang and another one or two are in Kedah.

“Only when it drops to 30% and below is it considered an emergency,” he said.

As the regulatory body for the water supply and sewerage services in the peninsula, Santiago said SPAN was being proactive and on-guard to face the rising temperatures.

However, it requires efforts from all parties to be prudent in the usage of water.

He urged the public to report any leaks to their water supply operators.

“We have to save every drop,” said Santiago.

Meanwhile, the Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) said the practice of reducing treated water consumption should be done daily.

When done daily, it would be easier to cope when a water supply crisis hits, says AWER president S. Piarapakaran.

He shared some water conservation tips such as reusing wastewater from washing clothes or vegetables and harvesting rainwater.

Other tips include using a glass to fill up water to gargle after brushing teeth and using moderate water flow to wash the face.

By taking these steps, Piarapakaran said more than two litres of water per person per brushing session could be saved.

“For example, in a family of four, this will help reduce water consumption by at least 480 litres a month,” he said.

He also advised the public to keep bathing time below 15 minutes and to turn off the shower when applying soap.

“You can save more than 93 litres of water in every bathing session if you use average water flow and bathe within 15 minutes,” he said.

“In a family of four, this will help reduce water consumption by at least 11,160 litres a month.”

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