Oil spill sparks water woes

Oil spill sparks water woes

SINGAPORE - Residents in several parts of Malaysia's Klang Valley started Merdeka Day on Saturday on a not so joyous note: they had to put up with a water cut.

This was because of an oil spill in Sungei Selangor which caused four water treatment plants to close on Friday, The Star reported.

Districts affected are Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, Klang/Shah Alam, Gombak, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Langat and Kuala Selangor.

The initial projection was that a million people would be affected, but that number has fallen to 880,000 as water supply to some residents resumed on Saturday morning, Malay Mail reported.

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas), the water supply corporation for Selangor state, said in a statement: "Syabas expects its supply of water to affected areas to reach 80 per cent capacity in three days, and normal supply within one week."

People affected by the crisis are stocking up on bottled water, causing many supermarkets to run out of the item.

Twitter user @SleeplessInKL said: "Local supermarket full of people panic-buying bottled drinking water, disposable plates, plastic spoons."

RohanBeg tweeted:"Stocking up on so much water that I feel like I'm preparing for an apocalypse."

An affected resident, Ms Alison Chang, told The Star that people in her area were buying bottled water in bulk.

"I was on the way to Giant (supermarket) when I received a call saying that Giant was completely out of bottled water," she recounted.

Supermarkets are rapidly restocking the item to help affected residents, with some retail chains assuring consumers that they would have enough supplies to meet the demand.

And despite the rush to buy water, the mood in stores was said to be light, with people chatting and joking about the crisis, The Star reported.

Meanwhile, the authorities raided a factory, believed to be the source of the oil polluting Sungai Selangor, on Saturday. The factory, suspected to be illegal, has been issued fines totalling RM34,000 (S$13,200) for various violations.

Singapore's water supply is believed to be unaffected by the crisis.

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