Can we have a safe, reliable supply of water in 2021, please?

I HAD a good start to 2021: water supply was restored after two days of the new norm of monthly supply disruptions. Our Klang Valley neighbourhood experienced this silver lining about half a dozen times in 2020.

It seems a pipe was damaged by a landslide in Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, on Dec 29. On the same day there was also a burst pipe in Shah Alam.

In October 2019, a 3m stretch of road in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, collapsed due to a burst pipe. And many areas in the Klang Valley suffered water supply cuts throughout 2020 when pollution in raw river water caused treatment plants to be shut down.

In 2016, I wrote a letter about delayed maintenance, ie, when maintenance was postponed till after the festive season resulting eventually in a massive water supply disruption in the Klang Valley.

I offered a few suggestions to the National Water Services Com-mission (SPAN) and what was then the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry on minimising the inconvenience of cuts, and as usual nobody took heed.

SPAN has to take responsibility for supply disruptions since its vision is sustainable, reliable and affordable water supply services for all driven by a mission to regulate the water services industry through fair, effective and transparent implementation of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655).

Staff at Air Selangor deserve our pity instead of ire because so often they are merely putting out fires rather than making any holistic progress towards sustainable supply (and they should be thanked for the regular updates on the progress of repairs, by the way).VIPs who can afford it might not feel the pinch in situations like this as they could probably afford to have water delivered to their doorstep. Ordinary citizens, however, are much more inconvenienced, especially old folk living alone and people with disabilities – and especially so in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic when cleanliness is so important.

I do hope that the 2021 Budget has provisions for the upgrade and proper maintenance of water pipes, with a proactive approach towards identifying pipes that need urgent attention.

Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardises both the physical and social health of humans and is an affront to human dignity. What say you?

A happy new year to all Malaysians!


Kuala Lumpur

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letters , water , Air Selangor , SPAN


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