Johor River getting saltier

Jalelah Abu Baker Straits Times 10 Jun 16; and AsiaOne

Malaysia's Johor River is becoming more salty while levels at the Linggiu Reservoir are decreasing, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli yesterday. Linggiu, which was built upstream of the Johor River in 1994, collects and releases rainwater into the river.

It is operated by Singapore's national water agency PUB and helps to meet half of Singapore's water needs. The reservoir is about 33 per cent full, a historic low. It was 40 per cent full in April, and 80 per cent full at the beginning of last year.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Stamford Detention Tank, which is being built to improve flood protection in Singapore, Mr Masagos said: "To wash off the salinity is a challenge. The salinity of the river is increasing and intrudes into our water works."

PUB supplies Johor with 16 million gallons of potable water a day, but increased this amount last Saturday by 6 million gallons at the request of Badan Kawalselia Air Johor, Johor's water regulatory body.

"In providing water to Malaysia, we first ensure that we have adequate supply," said Mr Masagos. "We are able to extract our 250 million gallons per day, on average, over the month, although we are always challenged because of the same weather challenges that both countries are facing." He added that Singapore has asked the Malaysian authorities to look into other ways to top up the Linggiu Reservoir.

The Straits Times reported on May 27 that Johor is looking at two rivers - Sayong River and Ulu Sedili Besar River - for water. Either one of the river projects would take at least two years to complete.

Jalelah Abu Baker

S’pore has enough water supply, says Masagos

SINGAPORE — Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli yesterday assured the press that Singapore has an adequate supply of water even though it started supplying more potable water to Johor at the request of the Malaysian state’s water regulatory body. He also said the Government has asked the Malaysian authorities to look at other ways to top up the depleting Linggiu Reservoir.

National water agency PUB operates the reservoir, from which both Singapore and Johor draw water. Since June 4, PUB has pumped in an extra six million gallons of potable water a day to Johor.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a PUB site visit yesterday, Mr Masagos said Singapore has still been able to extract 250 million gallons of water a day on average for the month despite facing the same weather challenges as Malaysia. “But we have asked the Malaysian authorities to look at other ways to top up the Linggiu dam, including putting up dams across Sayung, pumping systems at Sayung river, as well as (Ulu Sedili Besar River) so that it can augment the volume in Linggiu (Reservoir), and at the same time both help Singapore and Johor,” he said.

Dry weather conditions have brought water levels at Linggiu Reservoir to an all-time low of 33 per cent, down from 40 per cent in April. Badan Kawalselia Air Johor, the state’s water regulatory body, had asked for the extra water for a month to supplement the supply in areas served by Johor’s Sungai Layang dam, which has been hit severely by the continuing dry spell. LAURA PHILOMIN

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