PETALING JAYA: Water cuts in Selangor have become annoyingly frequent.
The causes are many – spillage of dangerous chemicals into rivers, pipe leakage or repair works, the list goes on. Many areas in the state are experiencing yet another dry spell and it has nothing to do with the weather.
Water supply to several districts was cut on Wednesday to facilitate repair and maintenance works and is only expected to be fully restored tomorrow, according to Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd, the state’s water supply service provider.
According to the recently unveiled Auditor-General’s Report, water supply issues are not likely to be resolved soon.
Phase 1 of the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant and Distribution System, originally scheduled for completion next year, is now likely to see a one-year delay.
The project would have raised daily supply of treated water to 1,130 million litres in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
In the report, the auditor-general recommended that the matter be brought to the attention of the Public Accounts Committee of the Dewan Rakyat.
The RM8 billion Langat 2 project includes the construction of a tunnel to draw water from the Kelau Dam in Pahang. It is expected to address Selangor’s water woes, once completed.
Environmentalists and other stakeholders are calling for investigations to be conducted to determine the causes of the delay.
Association of Water and Energy Research president S. Piarapakaran said it is vital that the reason for the delay is made known, given that access to clean water is a basic right.
“From the Auditor-General’s Report, it is very clear that several issues must be addressed to ensure that there are no more supply disruptions,” he told theSun.
He also noted that there has been no response from Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd, the company wholly-owned by the Ministry of Finance Inc that is responsible for water infrastructure.
Piarapakaran said more assets, including manpower, should be allocated to speed up work on the project.
Environmental interest group EcoKnights vice-president Amlir Ayat agreed that a probe is necessary.
However, Piarapakaran and Amlir disagreed with a suggestion
that water assets be handed to the federal government to improve efficiency and ensure fair distribution.
Former Water, Land and Natural resources minister Datuk Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said the Dewan Rakyat could pass a legislation to require all states to hand jurisdiction of their water assets to the federal government.
“I do not think states should have such autonomy.”
Piarapakaran added that low water reserve margins have been a long-standing issue.
He expressed fears that giving the federal government control over water assets would only cause further delays in projects every time a new minister is appointed.
“In any case, states are reluctant to let go of their water resources because it is linked to logging, which is also controlled by the states.”
He agreed that a public-private partnership could work, as long as there is a cap on profits the private entity is allowed to make.
“Just like in Denmark, half of the treated water is supplied by about 2,000 consumer-owned water supply companies.”