PETALING JAYA - Some 80 per cent of all piped water leaks in the country occur just before the supply reaches homes, with experts blaming poor workmanship.
Ranhill Water Services business development head Khairul Effendy Tusam said some contractors hired by water operators had done a poor job in connecting main pipes to houses.
"(Leaks) happen due to a lack of supervision. Contractors and developers cut corners and buy cheap materials for the pipes," he said when interviewed.
He added that communication pipes - which are connected from main pipes right up to water meters - were generally made out of polyethylene plastic, which was flexible and could not corrode.
"Leaks happen when joints are not properly installed, and many workers hired by the contractors are not trained to do the job."
Khairul added that a lack of resources meant that there would be few technicians on site to monitor a job.
"A contractor can be installing 100 to 200 connections (for an area) in a day, and on the water (operator) side there may be one technician ... supervising everything takes a lot of resources," he said.
Khairul said some communication pipes, especially in rural areas, could be exposed after many years and would break if stepped upon or driven over.
Malaysian Water Association council member Mohamad Hairi Basri said some contractors used their plumbing licence to get jobs from water operators only to subcontract the work to someone else.
"Thousands of joints are being done in one day. It's very difficult to (supervise) one by one," he said.
Association of Water and Energy Research president S. Piarapakaran said water operators should penalise, including blacklist, contractors who didn't do a proper job.
"If the pipe that was supposed to have been repaired leaked, the contractors should be blacklisted.
"But there's not a lot of blacklisting going on," he said.
The Star had reported that at least 75 per cent of all non-revenue water was due to leaking pipes and other physical problems.
Non-revenue water is a term used for treated water that cannot be billed because it fails to reach their destinations due to failures in a water system.