DRY taps. Water tankers making their way to housing estates. A long queue of people holding pails and water containers waiting for the precious commodity.
This has become a common sight in Selangor and places getting their water supply from the state.
Until the Selangor government completes its water restructuring exercise, these scenes are expected to stay.
Experts are saying the water issues in Selangor are due to the state’s poor water infrastructure — from a low water reserve margin of four per cent compared with Penang’s 34 per cent, to more than 1,000 water tanks underutilised because of the low water reserve margin in the pipes.
“You have these tanks to be filled, but because of the low water reserve margin in the pipes, there is not enough water to reach the tanks. Instead, it stays in the pipes.
“A good water reserve margin will be from 15 to 20 per cent and above,” says an analyst, who declines to be named.
Based on the Malaysia Water Industry Guide 2017, the output capacity from water treatment plants in 2016 showed that Penang had the highest water reserve margin at 34.1 per cent, followed by Labuan (29.2 per cent); Perak (28.7 per cent); Terengganu (27.2 per cent); Negri Sembilan (22.1 per cent); Pahang (21.4 per cent); Sarawak (20.7 per cent); Melaka (20.1 per cent); and, Johor (16.4 per cent). The national water margin average is at 13.2 per cent.
The analyst says the delay in the water restructuring exercise has brought about several implications:
SELANGOR water supply cannot be effectively supervised to improve the quality of service by the National Water Services Commission Malaysia (SPAN) under the Act 655 framework;
SELANGOR cannot get the financial facility to develop the water asset infrastructure from Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB), which is more competitive compared with commercial financing;
SMALLER capital investment by the state government will affect water supply to residents in Selangor from the aspect of water supply quantity and quality; and,
THE low treated water reserve margin within the four per cent range has affected the real estate development sector.
Up to January this year, 761 applications for new development had to be shelved because Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) could not guarantee adequate water supply.
Statistics from the Malaysian Water Association in 2015 showed that almost 50 per cent of the water supply disruption in the country took place in Selangor, with a staggering 83,729 cases reported.
The inconvenience caused by the yet-to-be-completed water restructuring exercise in Selangor is obvious, coupled with the lost opportunities for the rakyat to enjoy new jobs that can be created from the 761 shelved development projects involving affordable housing with a total estimated investment worth RM10 billion.