PETALING JAYA - With dam levels in Selangor dropping to dangerously low levels, industry experts say drastic measures needed to be taken now to save as much water as possible.
Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia president S. Piarapakaran said measures that included rationing would be needed to stretch the state's water resources.
"It's better to go for water rationing now than to have a scenario where it's so bad that you only have water once a week," he said yesterday.
Both federal and state governments have a responsibility to citizens not to wait until the last minute, he added.
"At the moment, the other party (Selangor) doesn't want to admit (that there's a problem) and the Federal Government is sitting and waiting to see what will happen," said Piarapakaran.
"SPAN (the National Water Services Commission) has the right to step in. It cannot just leave it to Selangor to guarantee (steady water supply)."
Malaysian Water Association president Syed Mohamad Adnan Mansor Alhabshi asked how long the state would rely on water from former mining ponds and other measures.
"Is pond water sufficient to last until September or October? We also have to see if the pumps break down or the water (in these ponds) is being replenished," he said.
Syed Mohamad also pointed out that the predicted El Nino phenomenon was expected to bring more dry weather to the region.
He suggested that a temporary water surcharge, a ban on car washing and plant-watering or even the declaration of a water emergency might be needed to conserve supply.
"I foresee we are heading into a difficult situation. It means we must take real steps to actually conserve water," he said.
Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia secretary-general Foon Weng Lian asked if the state was going to rely on ponds in years to come.
"We can't rely on the ponds forever, and there's nothing to recharge the ponds with."
As of 8am yesterday, the Sungai Selangor dam - which supplies 60 per cent of Klang Valley's raw water needs - was at 32.48 per cent of capacity, with 30 per cent deemed the critical level.
The Federal Government said this level might be reached in under two weeks, though the state has said that there is no need for rationing as the matter was under control.
More than 6.7 million people were affected by rationing when unusually dry weather hit the region in the first few months of the year.