Penang's water management services is the best

PETALING JAYA - More than 80 per cent of Penang's treated water was delivered to its people last year, making its water management services the best in Malaysia.

Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) general manager Jaseni Maidinsa said his company had continuously upgraded its services, trained its workforce, ran a 24-hour customer service and even paid dividends to company shareholders.

"If people are doing what they're supposed to be doing, then everything will be okay.

"If a water agency achieves operational excellence, you won't have a big non-revenue water problem," he said.

"We have a detailed list on what kind and where the pipes are, and our teams are prepared to work on them around the clock," he said.

The average Penangite uses 285 litres of water daily, making them the highest water consumers in the country.

NRW levels in Penang dropped year after year, and recorded 17.6 per cent last year although PBAPP had the challenge of maintaining an additional 1,912km of pipes.

Jaseni said cutting down on water loss was difficult, with Penang managing to reduce NRW by only 3.9 per cent over the last 27 years.

Its staff strength of 1,200 last year was also almost the same as it was 27 years ago, when it had 1,164 employees.

Perlis was ranked by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) as the most water-wasteful state in the country.

In 2012, 66.4 per cent of its treated water never reached consumers, up from 59.8 per cent the year before.

When contacted, Perlis Public Works Department (JKR) director Azizan Ab Rahman declined comment and referred the matter to SPAN.

However, SPAN water regulatory department executive director MarĀ­zuki Mohammad only offered a general response, saying that some states had lower NRW levels as they put more effort in reducing water loss.

He said NRW reduction was not a one-off effort, as it required continuous effort and funding with full commitment from all members of the organisation.

He said that even though Perlis agreed to transfer their water assets to the National Water Management Company (PAAB) in 2011, federal funding had yet to kick in because the Government was waiting for the state to corporatise Perlis JKR's water division first.

This corporatisation is expected to occur on Jan 1, 2014.