Water from Pahang not a swift solution

KUALA LUMPUR - The proposal to channel raw water from Pahang to existing water treatment plants in Selangor is feasible but a solution to the water woes will not come swiftly as hoped and expected by consumers.

Malaysian Water Association president Syed Mohamad Alhabshi said moving raw water via the almost-completed tunnel under the Pahang-Selangor Raw Water Transfer Project without waiting for the Langat 2 treatment plant is feasible only if the existing Langat water treatment plant is upgraded to treat the additional water from Pahang.

"It must be done within 12 months.

"If that is not done, they might as well wait for Langat 2, which will take three years to construct," said Syed Mohamad.

He said the last time such a fast track mode was implemented was during the 1998 crisis, when the Wangsa Maju plant was designed and constructed within 12 months.

In 1998, three dams in the Klang Valley - Klang Gates, Batu and Semenyih - suffered a substantial drop in water levels following the El Nino phenomenon.

The water shortage forced the Government to impose water rationing prior to the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

Syed Mohamad said even if the existing Langat water treatment plant, which produces 475MLD (million litres daily), is upgraded, its capacity will not match Langat 2.

"Langat 2 is able to treat about 1,200 million litres daily. Even if you upgrade the existing Langat, it can only increase its capacity by 100MLD, or at best, by 200MLD."

Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia secretary-general Foon Weng Lian said the transfer of raw water from Pahang should have been done much earlier.

"However, this is only a short term plan because if we do not address the non-revenue water issues and impose demand-side management, we will need more projects like this and the rakyat will be the ones who will bear the cost," said Foon.