DAP: Sourcing water from Pahang not a long-term solution

Posted on July 23, 2010. Filed under: Water resource |

-TheMalaysianinsider.com-

KLANG, July 23 — The DAP’s Charles Santiago has accused the federal government of manufacturing claims that Selangor faced water rationing, pointing out that a plan to tap supply from Pahang was not a viable solution to growing demand.

He claimed the RM9 billion Pahang-Selangor Raw Water Transfer Project would fail because it would only ensure enough supply for 15 years.

He argued that the federal government had already unwittingly admitted the inter-state water project was not a viable solution.

He pointed out that Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister Noriah Kasnon, in a report in The Star on July 21, had said the project was “needed to secure Selangor’s (water) supply until 2025”.

“That’s RM9 billion for just 15 years. What happens next?” he asked.

He also express doubts if the planned Kelau dam in Pahang, which is supposed to be the source of water, will be able to supply Selangor with 1,150 million litres of water a day.

He argues that even if the dam is built, there is no guarantee that there will be rain to fill it.

“No study on the impact on climate change was carried out when the dam was first proposed in 1998, despite our demands,” said Santiago (picture), who is also the co-ordinator of the Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water.

He claimed the federal government was pressing ahead due to pressure from contractors who are demanding to be paid.

He said the Japan Bank for International Cooperation was providing a loan of RM3.8 billion for the project.

“But payments have stalled because there is no progress in the project.”

Although a federal project, the Selangor government’s approval is needed for the acquisition of state land.

However, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s administration is in no hurry.

Khalid has already indicated that talks for the project must be discussed collectively with ongoing negotiations on the restructuring of the water services industry in Selangor.

The federal government, however, wants both issues to be negotiated separately.

Santiago said the “manufactured claims” in the press about taps running dry in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya by 2014 were to force the state to move.

The state, however, maintains that Selangor has enough water to last till 2019.

Santiago pointed out that both the federal and state governments were using different methodologies to arrive at their respective claims.

However, he urged both sides to stop “politicising water” but to work together to find a long-term solution.

He said the federal government should start by making public an audit report on Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd, which is classified under the Officials Secrets Act.

It is estimated that 35 per cent of all treated water is lost due to leakages or is non-revenue water (NRW).

Santiago said any potential water crisis could be averted just by reducing NRW.

“At least 50 per cent of the water which they propose to supply from the Kelau dam can be reduced by tackling NRW.”

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