Urgent lessons to be learnt from water cuts


IT was shortlived joy for the more than one million consumers affected by the emergency shutdown of Phase 1, 2 and 3 of the Sungai Selangor treatment plant last Friday when the water supply resumed yesterday – only to be shut down again on Sunday evening due to diesel pollution.

There are several urgent lessons to be learnt and appropriate action that needs to be taken by the relevant authorities.

The Department of Environment needs to step up its checks immediately in all areas where the source of raw water flows.

The fact that two major incidents occurred within just a matter of days should be a wake-up call for all concerned.

The question to be asked is, if there were more regular and stringent checks by the authorities concerned, and strong action taken, could these two incidents have been prevented?

As stated by SPAN (National Water Services Commission) chairman Charles Santiago, the law needs to be reviewed and reformed to increase the penalties and hold company owners and top management accountable.

This will obviously take time, hence the need to increase stringent checks on all premises regularly right now.

Perhaps it is time for all water treatment plants to review the system they have in place to detect pollution and see if it is sensitive enough to pick up on such instances quickly enough.

The rakyat should also learn to appreciate that water is a precious resource not to be taken for granted. We must use water with care and sparingly.

On a separate note, I appreciate the prompt action taken by the Air Selangor team in making press statements promptly and providing regular updates. This allowed those affected to take whatever pre-emptive action we could to cope with the disruption.

Let’s hope that all concerned will take the necessary actions immediately to ensure there is no repeat of such an occurrence again.

SHAL THARUMALINGAM

Petaling Jaya

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