We Need Alternative Water Sources

PETALING JAYA: We are too dependent on rain water for our daily consumption, said former Selangor exco Dr Xavier Jeyakumar today.

He was responding to the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) decision to extend the water rationing period to April 30 as the water levels in Selangor dams were insufficient to revoke the rationing exercise.

“We cannot rely on rain water supply alone for our consumption. Other alternatives must be considered,” said Jeyakumar.

On March 28, SPAN announced that the water rationing exercise would be continued till April 30 and pushed the move to the fourth phase, which will affect about 3.6 million residents in the Klang Valley.

Defending its decision, SPAN said that water levels at the Selangor dams have not improved despite heavy rain in the last two weeks.

Jeyakumar however said that it was best for the state government to formulate a plan ahead to ensure there is no longer water shortage in the Klang Valley in the future.

“We need to plan for at least 25 years ahead. With the federal government being reluctant to invoke the Water Services Industries Act (Wasia) to help us manage our own water assets, we need to come up with new ideas to resolve the matter,” he said.

Jeyakumar said that some of the measures the state government, with the aid of the federal government, could do is to promote rain water harvesting, storm water storage and to tap into underground water sources.

He also queried on whether the state government had followed up on the much touted membrane technology to increase water supply, a project which was mooted last year.

“Last year, we did a pilot project on the membrane technology at the Bukit Jelutong water treatment plant.

“The water quality improved and we had positive results. But I’m not sure whether the state government is following up on it or not,” he said.
Low supply in rivers

On public uproar over the water rationing exercise despite heavy rain, Jeyakumar said that heavy rain does not mean water levels in the rivers and dams have increased.

Explaining the matter, he said that in general, consumers’ water supply came from river supply.
“We process the raw water from rivers for public consumption. The water in dams are kept as reserves for emergency purposes.

“When there is a drop in river water to cater for public consumption, only then we release dam water to offset the reduction,” he said.

The recent dry spell, Jeyakumar added, had caused water levels in rivers and dams to drop, prompting the authorities to release reserve dam water for public consumption.

“Of course, the rain had increased water levels in the dams to a certain extent but the problem is that the water levels in the rivers are still low.

“And that is why the water rationing exercise is extended,” he said.

However, Jeyakumar assured that not all dams in Selangor are having water level below the 55% mark, as the recent rain had increased water capacity in several dams.

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday