KUALA LUMPUR - The ongoing water crisis has taken a turn for the worse, with an expected 2.2 million more consumers in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya set to face water rationing soon.
This would bring the total number of those affected to a whopping 5.9 million.
The crisis, the authorities believe, has been compounded by several factors:
Despite the recent steady rainfall, the rain has not fallen in the required catchment areas;
Water levels at the seven dams supplying water to Selangor, KL and Putrajaya have only risen slightly; and,
The ongoing closure of two water treatment plants - at 11th Mile, Cheras and Bukit Tampoi due to high ammonia content, affecting more than 60,000 people in 71 areas.
The full details of the areas and the number of households affected in the exercise will be announced by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) at a press conference today.
Speaking to the New Straits Times, a SPAN spokesperson said the rain had not improved the situation at the seven dams which supply water to treatment plants in Selangor, KL and Putrajaya, forcing the authorities to implement the next phase of water rationing.
"Despite the constant rainfall, water levels have only increased slightly in the dams. The rain did not fall in the required catchment areas.
"Therefore, water rationing will continue till the end of the month.
"The date given is a time frame, it all depends on the situation. If it improves, the time frame might be shorter but if it worsens, then it might be extended."
On cloud seeding operations, the spokesperson said the option had yet to be discussed with the Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) and the Meteorological Department.
Meanwhile, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) Corporate Communication and Public Affairs assistant general manager Priscilla Alfred concurred.
"We cannot provide an exact date as to when water rationing will end as there have been no drastic increase in the dams despite regular rainfall.
"We will continue with water rationing exercises until the situation improves."
She said consumers' water bills would not run if the supply was not used.
"We will not provide any rebates. However, consumers should not worry as they will only have to pay for what they use."
On Saturday, SPAN in a statement had announced that water levels at seven dams was at 190.00m, compared with 206.60m in January.
The total water storage in Sungai Selangor has dropped to 37.09 per cent; Sungai Tinggi (63.25 per cent); Sungai Semenyih (72.83 per cent); Sungai Langat (50.20 per cent); Klang Gates (50.32 per cent); Tasik Subang (88.39 per cent); and Sungai Batu (77.59 per cent).
Currently, the third stage of scheduled water rationing is affecting 722,032 households and 3.6 million people in Gombak, Petaling, Klang/Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor and KL.
Each area is divided into two zones with each zone receiving water supply for two days followed by two days of rationing
Meanwhile, it was reported that the first stage of the scheduled water rationing implemented on Feb 27 in Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang will remain. This was due to closure of two water treatment plants -- at 11th Mile, Cheras and Bukit Tampoi -- as a result of high ammonia content, which affected more than 60,000 people in 71 areas.
The second phase had affected 2.2 million people in 260 areas in Gombak, KL, Petaling, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor and Hulu Selangor.