BACK in 2010, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry Datuk Noriah Kasnon stated that Selangor will be facing a water crisis starting from 2012 onwards.
In hindsight, the statement she made almost sounds prophetic now, as the citizens of Selangor are currently reeling from another bout of water disruption which extended till Sunday (11 Mar) in Selangor.
For residents of Selangor and Klang Valley, news of taps running dry has become all too common. Some even say that the people of Selangor has become desensitized to the issue, as it has turned into an almost annual event.
Prior to the statement Noriah made, the first signs of cracks in Selangor’s proverbial dam started to appear in 2011, when residents from parts of Kuala Lumpur, Gombak, Petaling and Hulu Selangor were notified of a 48-hour water disruption.
Back then, both Syabas and Selangor’s state government tried to shift the blame towards each other, with Syabas blaming the low water levels, and the Selangor government blaming Syabas for not carrying out upgrading works of treatment plants.
From there, it has been and endless cycle of deja vu for citizens of Selangor and Klang Valley. For residents in Selangor, many can’t recall a year that has gone by without water disruption in recent years.
Chronology Of Escalating Water Disruptions In Selangor
According to statistics from the Malaysian Water Association collected in 2015, almost 50 per cent of the water supply disruption in the country took place in Selangor, with a staggering 83,729 cases reported.
Starting in 2011, initially the disruptions were shorter in duration like the 48-hour cut for maintenance work by Syabas in June 2011.
By 2013, a scheduled disruption took place as the Sungai Selangor Phase 2 (SSP2) water treatment plant was partially shut down temporarily which left many part of Selangor without water from Tuesday and Sunday due to a scheduled disruption in stages in the supply.
In 2014, another disruption took place to facilitate pipe repairs. By 2015, the problem was so widespread that 400,000 households were left without water due to a shutdown at the Sungai Semenyih treatment plant for three days.
In fact, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was so incensed by the water woes back in 2014 that he personally wrote an opinion piece asking ‘Who is to blame for Selangor water woes?’, published by The Star.
By 2016, ,more than a million consumers in Malaysia have been affected by water disruptions with the problem further aggravated by industrial pollution that tainted the already scarce water supply.
In fact, Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang had shared statistics from the ministry that Selangor had the highest water services complaints at 259,537 in 2016 alone while water “reserve margin at 0%”, he posted on the ministry’s Facebook page yesterday.
The list goes on and on almost at an annual rate until last year.
In 2017, much to the citizens of Selangor’s chagrin, the water supply disruption happened twice.
And last week, following the series of endless disruptions, people in Selangor and Klang Valley again suffered from another water disruption.
Adding further insult to S’gor folk water woes, the state government tries to shift the blame back to the federal government by blaming Syarikat Pengeluaran Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH).
After ten years of the opposition ruling Selangor, at one point someone has to ask; when is it going to end?
Unfortunately, the end doesn’t seem like it’s going to be anytime soon.
Current Water Crisis In Selangor Is A Problem Of Their Own Making For More Than 10 Years – AWER
When contacted by Malaysian Digest, the president of the Association of Water And Energy Research Malaysia (AWER), Piarapakaran Subramaniam said that the current water crisis in Selangor is a problem in their own making for more than 10 years.
“The problems arise due to the Selangor’s state government’s unwillingness to abide by the reform of the water sector which started back in 2006,” he said.
According to Piarapakaran, the state government’s unwillingness to cooperate with the federal government caused the water crisis situation in Selangor to become a ticking time bomb.President of the Association of Water And Energy Research Malaysia (AWER), Piarapakaran SubramaniamPresident of the Association of Water And Energy Research Malaysia (AWER), Piarapakaran Subramaniam
“Due to the slow progress of negotiating the water sector restructuring process, the reserve water margin in Selangor is at a very low level, and the percentage of non-revenue water is rising.
“When the reserve water margin is low, then water supply disruption will happen when a plant shutdown for temporary repairs or upgrades.
When asked if there is a solution for the water crisis in Selangor, Piarapakaran said that the situation will improve when the Selangor government proceeds with the restructuring process as they’re supposed to.
“This will help them to undergo infrastructure upgrades and repairworks, which in turn will help to keep non-revenue water low. This will help ensure that the reserve water margin is at a good level.
“As of now, the non-revenue water in Selangor stands at a whopping 30%. This means that almost one thirds of the water is going to waste,” said Piarapakaran.
With the solution already in sight, one must wonder just how long does the Selangor state government intend to keep up with their bullishness in order to achieve their political motives?
Perhaps those are the questions that voters should put towards the Selangor government come GE14.