CYBERJAYA - Two hundred and ninety-one new areas in Selangor will be hit by water cuts on Friday when the fourth phase of rationing starts.
These areas include commercial lots and residential homes, with the authorities estimating that 3.1 million people are working and living in them.
Together with the 235 areas already undergoing water rationing, some 6.7 million people will be affected in all.
National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Datuk Ismail Kassim said the new areas were in Gombak, Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat and Sepang.
"The fourth phase of water rationing will involve an additional 620,237 households making a total of 1,340,231 households or 6.7 million people," he said at SPAN headquarters.
They will be subject to a two-day-on, two-day-off water supply pattern. As of yesterday morning, Selangor's dam levels were 90.11 per cent (Batu), 50.18 per cent (Klang Gates), 48.94 per cent (Langat), 71.33 per cent (Semenyih), 36.6 per cent (Sungai Selangor), 61.62 per cent (Sungai Tinggi) and 87.93 per cent (Tasik Subang).
Aside from rationing, the state has capped the Sungai Selangor dam's water release from 1.8 billion litres to one billion litres a day.
SPAN chief executive Datuk Teo Yen Hua said that many of the dams were not filling up with water despite recent rain because much of it was not falling in catchment areas.
On criticism against the two-day-off water pattern, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) executive director (planning division) Sanusi Sulieman said this was done so that there would be enough pressure in the pipes to reach homes.
He said that those affected by rationing would only get their water running at about 4pm on the first day of their two-day-on pattern.
The supply would continue for 41 hours before being cut off at about 9am two days later.
This meant that households under rationing would not receive water for about 55 hours during water-off days.
Sanusi said that homes far from treatment plants or on hills would receive their water later than others.
Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) director Md Khairi Selamat said the water at the Sungai Selangor dam would have to be assessed once levels there reach 30 per cent capacity - its critical level.
"The water below the critical level might not be of good quality.
"There might be silt and heavy metals at those depths," he added.