By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
I wondered whether I should be happy or sad when I saw water tankers from water concessionaire Syabas and the Kajang City Council (MPKj) going around the residential area.
An elderly man who had undergone a heart surgery said, "I carry water buckets today, and you'll see scaffold in front of my house tomorrow."
A Malay elderly woman said, "Carrying water buckets under the hot sun during Ramadan is too much. I almost wanted to cry when I saw water running from the tap."
These are how Kajang and Subang Jaya residents feel. Politicians who always say the people are prioritised should personally experience it themselves.
It is irritating and frustrating for Selangor residents as they have to face waste disposal problem, blocked ditches and now water shortage, even though they are living in an advanced state.
Sending water tankers to residential areas is just an emergency measure. Do the federal government, local government and Syabas have a solution to quickly lift the people's suffering once and for all?
If water supply disruption continues, how are residents living in high-level units, particularly elderly residents, going to bear the torture of carrying the heavy water buckets everyday?
To cope with water shortages, each affected household has spent more than RM200 to buy buckets and trolleys, causing a sharp increase in household expenditure.
The Selangor state government said that the construction of the Project Mitigasi I is expected to be completed in March 2013 and clean water will increase by 332 million liters. Also, the federal government has approved an additional RM606 million to implement mitigation projects.
The water shortage problem has been torturing the residents from July to August. If it continues until next year, I am afraid that many people will collapse before the problem is solved.
The federal government and the state government have been disputing endlessly over the data, but have failed to come out with a solution so far. The Selangor Menteri Besar said the 34 water treatment plants in the state were capable of producing up to 4, 807 million litres a day, but Syabas delivered only 4, 371 million litres, with the rest 436 million litres undelivered. However, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui refuted that the 34 water treatment plants can produce only 4, 581 litres a day.
The Menteri Besar said that the treated water reserve level in the state is at 11%, but Syabas claimed that that it is only 2%.
Meanwhile, MCA President Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek quoted a conversation of a group of experts that, if there is no rain in the next two weeks, the water shortage in Selangor will worsen in two months time. It is estimated that seven to eight million of residents will be affected by then, instead of the current four to five million.
For sure, there must be errors in one of the data. If the Selangor state government makes a wrong judgement, it will then lead to a catastrophe.
Instead of engaging in an endless dispute, it will be better for them to sit down and find a way to improve the efficiency of Syabas and transfer treated water from other areas. They should reduce inefficient water and transfer water from other areas to meet the residents' urgent needs.
If they continue to politicise the issue, the water shortage problem will turn into a crisis affecting the country's economy, as well as the confidence of the people.