Water rationing: Johor and Melaka may be next

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 (Sin Chew Daily) -- The long dry spell coupled with the lack of proper planning of water catchment areas has sounded the alarm for water supply in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, with Melaka and Johor the next to suffer severe water shortage problem, thus affecting also water supply to neighboring Singapore.

The Association of Water and Energy Research (AWER) senior manager Lin Su Fang told Sin Chew Daily after Negeri Sembilan has announced that the state is facing the problem of water shortage, the association has also observed that the same problem happens in the neighboring states of Melaka and Johor as well. Negeri Sembilan has since started drawing and filtering water from flood retention ponds to meet the state's daily needs. Melaka and Johor are expected to follow the footsteps of Negeri Sembilan to adopt water rationing measures to solve their water supply problems.

Singapore will also be affected if Johor goes into water rationing. This will not only affect the day-to-day living of people on both ends of the Causeway, but will also have a negative impact on the industrial development in the two countries.

Based on the water supply agreement signed between Malaysia and Singapore in 1961/62, Singapore's Public Utilities Board will purchase untreated water from Johor at 3 sen per thousand gallons while Malaysia will buy treated water from the republic at the price of 50 sen per thousand gallons. Currently Johor supplies some 250 million gallons of raw water to Singapore every day.

Lin said despite a water restructuring exercise in Negeri Sembilan, the percentage of non-revenue water due to pipe leakage is more than 25%, hence the water shortage problem.

She said the government needs to implement proper protection measures at catchment areas while boosting the capacities of water dams cross the country as this will help resolve the problem of water shortage during the dry season.

On the water rationing measures in Negeri Sembilan, she urged the state government to furnish detailed information including areas affected by water rationing and the timing. In addition, water tankers should also be deployed to distribute water to affected areas at specific time while trying to restore water supply as soon as possible.