Malaysia: Selangor faces more water woes

NURADILLA NOORAZAM New Straits Times 10 Apr 14;

LONG HAUL: Water rationing may be extended for another three months

SHAH ALAM: SELANGOR residents may have to endure further anguish as authorities yesterday warned of an impending "state-level water emergency" should the water level at the Sungai Selangor dam fail to reach 55 per cent capacity by the end of the month.

Specifically, they are seeing the possibility of the current water-rationing exercise, affecting 6.7 million consumers, being extended for another three months. This will also affect consumers in the Federal Territory.

Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) director Md Khairi Selamat said the water level at the Sungai Selangor dam, one of the state's most important facilities, was at 37.31 per cent yesterday.

"The Sungai Selangor dam supplies water to 60 per cent of Selangor residents and needs to reach 55 per cent of its capacity before we can end the water rationing exercise," he said. "However, the low quantity of rain at water catchment areas has not raised the water level in dams across the state by much."

Khairi said according to a decision made by the Selangor state government at a meeting with the state water concessionaires, Luas and the National Water Services Commission (Span), the ongoing water rationing exercise would end once the dam's water level reached 55 per cent or 126.5mm.

"The rate of rainfall needed for the water level to increase is about 40.7mm and the number of days for the dams to be filled up is dependant on the rain," he said at the Luas headquarters here, yesterday.

Khairi said the water capacity in Sungai Selangor would reach the critical level of 69mm in 71 days if the situation did not improve.

The water level at Klang Gates dam would hit the critical mark in 88 days. He did not deny the possibility of a state-level "water emergency" if efforts to increase the water level in the state dams, including cloud seeding, failed.

Luas, he said, was in talks with Span to face the crisis by enacting a "water emergency plan".

The state water rationing exercise, initiated in February, entered its fourth phase early this month and is expected to end by month's end.

More than 722,032 households have been affected by water rationing. The latest round of water rationing was met with a mixture of disbelief and outrage.

It was reported that residents and business owners had demanded that the authorities figure out a way to improve the situation fast.

Khairi said the state government, Span, Luas and the concessionaires were focusing on raising the water level at state dams through several initiatives.

“We have intensified cloud seeding, especially in water-catchment areas, such as the Sungai Selangor and Klang Gates dams.

“We initiated cloud seeding from April 1 to April 4, and we will continue with the effort this week.”

On the water level at dams in the state, Khairi said the Klang Gates Dam’s water capacity was at 53.89 per cent compared with 91.45 per cent last year; the Langat Dam was at 49.47 per cent compared with 92.53 per cent, and Sungai Tinggi Dam was at 61.29 per cent from 100 per cent .

He said the unusual dry spell had caused a severe drop in the water levels at the dams.

“The last time we were hit with such dry weather was in 2005 and in 1998.”

'Rationing helps public value water'
ELVINA FERNANDEZ New Straits Times 11 Apr 13;

LESSON LEARNT: Water experts say people will be more careful from now on

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Malaysian Water Association (MWA) said the water rationing exercise will serve as a reminder to the public to use water more mindfully.

Its secretary-general, Mohmad Asari Daud, said besides being a mechanism to conserve water in dams for a longer period, it also served as a moral lesson to consumers.

"The rationing will teach consumers to value water and they will carry on with the habit even when water supply is back to normal," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Asari predicted that rationing would end sooner than the three months announced for the 6.7 million consumers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

"With the recent continuos heavy rain, consumers may have an earlier reprieve from the rationing. If the rain helps increase water level in the rivers, our dependence on the dams will be reduced."

Malaysia Water Forum Research and Policy executive Mathini Arveena Ravee said though the public was well updated on the water rationing process, their frustration was building up.

"However, there is no one to be blamed for this (rationing), it is solely on the water. The dry season has been unpredictable and we are paying the price for it."

She said that with Malaysia being among the top water users in South-east Asia, consumers should be more responsible with their water usage even when rationing ended.

"The rationing is necessary for us to have a comfortable July and August and hopefully it does not recur in January.

She said the additional rationing period would help increase the water level in dams as preparations for the coming dry spell as predicted by the Malaysian Meteorological Department.

"The purpose of rationing is to save water so we should continue to be mindful in our daily usage and avoid wastage. "

Treatment plants produce additional water after rain
g. surach The Star 11 Apr 14;

PETALING JAYA: Several treatment plants have begun to produce additional water after improved levels at Sungai Selangor and Sungai Langat following recent heavy showers, providing a boost in water supply to consumers.

Water management company Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) said, however, this does not mean an end to the ongoing water rationing exercise.

Reacting to rumours that the rationing had stopped, Syabas corporate communications assistant general manager Priscilla Alfred said certain areas affected by the schedular rationing will get normal suppy because of the additional production from these treatment plants.

“This follows a bit of improvement in the water level at Sungai Selangor and Sungai Langat as a result of heavy rain lately.

“The additional water is distributed to areas under the rationing exercise, on a rotational basis.

“This means areas supposed to be covered by the rationing exercise will get normal supply . . . at least for a day or even longer. Nevertheless, this situation is just temporary,” Alfred said in a statement to The Star yesterday.

She said, in essence, there is no change in the schedule over the four phases of the rationing exercise and neither is there a move to shorten the water rationing.

“Rather, the additional water supply is temporary until a decision to end the water rationing is issued by the Selangor government and the National Water Services Corporation (SPAN).

Alfred said the showers in recent days in areas around Sungai Selangor had increased the river flow and this opportunity was taken by five treatment plans to produce additional supply even when the feedback from the Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) showed the level at the Sungai Selangor dam was still low and critical.

She added that the water distribution was controlled and resumed by Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash).

Alfred advised consumers who were receiving additional water to be prepared for the schedular rationing in the event the treatment plants cease providing extra water.

She said at this juncture the Cheras Batu 11 and Bukit Tampoi treatment plans, which reopened on March 30, remained operational although they face the risk of ammonia content that remains uncertain at Sungai Langat.