Malaysia: Water rationing may be extended in time and area

Johor seeks approval from SPAN for move due to shortage of raw water
ZAZALI MUSA The Star 11 May 16;

JOHOR BARU: Scheduled water rationing in the Kota Tinggi and Mersing districts may be extended and even include other areas due to the alarming situation of raw water supply here.

SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd is waiting for approval from the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) for the extension.

Its corporate communications head Jamaluddin Jamil said SPAN would consider the request by SAJ Holdings, considering the latest data on river levels and water treatment plants in both districts.

“Due to the alarming situation of the current raw water supply from rivers and water treatment plants in Kota Tinggi and Mersing, the possibility of extending the rationing is higher,” he said yesterday.

Jamaluddin said the rationing might be extended for another month from May 16, a day after it was to end on May 15.

The rationing, which started from April 18 and affected 85,000 consumers, was put into place after levels at the four water treatment plants in the two districts reached critical stage. The plants are in Lok Heng and Sungai Gembut in Kota Tinggi, and Sungai Mersing and Tenglu in Mersing.

“This is the best measure to ensure that we will be able to supply water to users in the affected areas,” he said.

During the exercise, he said consumers would be able to have water supply for a day, followed by two days without water.

Jamaluddin said the level at Sungai Sedeli Kecil, which supplied water to Lok Heng and Sungai Gembut, was critical.

A similar situation, he said, was also brewing at the Sungai Mersing and Tenglu plants where the level has been dropping daily.

“We are also closely monitoring the level at the Sungai Layang dam, which is now at 19.28m, below the critical level of 23.5m,” he said.

The level at Sungai Layang which supplies water to the Layang dam, he added, was also dropping at the rate of 0.04m daily.

He said that should the situation not improve in the coming days, rationing will be implemented again in the Pasir Gudang and Masai areas, and parts of Johor Baru.

Some 575,000 consumers in Pasir Gudang, Masai and parts of Johor Baru were affected by rationing from Aug 16 to Sept 15 last year, which was later extended to the end of the year.

Although heavy rains were recorded in several parts of Johor in the past weeks, it only rained in places like Batu Pahat, Pontian, Gelang Patah and Muar, and not in areas where the river water was receding, said Jamaluddin.

Water tankers on standby
The Star 11 May 16;

JOHOR BARU: As many as 130 water tanker are on standby to help fight fires in any area experiencing water shortage, said the Fire and Rescue Department.

Department director-general Datuk Wira Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said each tanker, which can carry 20,000 litres of water, can be used for fire-fighting for 20 to 30 minutes.

“The tankers will be used as an alternative to supply water to fire hydrants in areas where there is water shortage.

“The shortage can affect the water supply to the hydrants,” he said after the World Firefighter’s Day celebration at the Persada International Convention Centre yesterday.

The event was earlier launched by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

Wan Mohd Nor explained that fire hydrants for residential or commercial users shared the same water source from treatment plants.

He said about half of the total of 280 fire stations nationwide were equipped with water tankers and were not facing any water shortage currently.

On another matter, Wan Mohd Nor said a request for an increase in monthly allowances for firefighters has been submitted to the Public Service Department.

He said it was timely for the allowances to be raised due to the long shifts put in by the 18,000 firefighters in the country compared with other professions.

Firefighters currently receive an incentive aid of RM110 monthly as they are not allowed overtime allowances. Those in special teams, such as divers, the Malaysia Emergency Response Services and special taskforce, receive RM100 each month, he added.

The event showcased a parade of some 2,000 officers, including firemen, emergency response teams, fire cadets, and airport and army fire services personnel. About 60 fire-fighting vehicles were also displayed.

In his speech, Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan thanked Sultan Ibrahim for his generosity in allowing eight of his antique fire engines to be displayed in conjunction with the event.

He also said that firemen deserved much credit for the time, energy and lives sacrificed in ensuring the safety of the people and country.

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