Water rationing in Malaysia ends today

SHAH ALAM - Residents in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya need no longer suffer the inconvenience of water rationing beginning today.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the water rationing exercise would end today.

All areas affected by the rationing will receive normal supply of water beginning today and the latest by Friday for localities with low water pressure, Khalid told a press conference after chairing the weekly exco meeting yesterday.

He said the decision to lift the water rationing was collectively made in a meeting on Monday attended by the Water Services Commission (SPAN), the Selangor Water Management Council (Luas), Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) and the water concessionaire companies.

The state government had conveyed the decision to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) which has been directed to ensure that consumers get their water back to normal, said Khalid.

He said the state government decided there wasn't a necessity to wait for the dam to reach the 50 per cent mark as it was confident that efforts such as pumping water from ponds into the Sungai Selangor dam as well as continuing rain at catchment areas would increase the dam's water level.

"When we decided to consider (lifting the rationing) last week, the water level in the dam was about 37 per cent to 38 per cent," said Khalid.

He added that the state government was at that time concerned about lifting water rationing without preparing itself for the dry spell expected soon.

"So before we decided to lift the water rationing, we asked our engineers to find out how much water we had from other sources that was available for contingency.

"Based on that calculation, we assume we would have water to last everyone for five to six months," explained Khalid, adding that the water level at the Sungai Selangor dam currently stood at 40 per cent.

Khalid said the state government and all relevant bodies would be stringently monitoring the water level at the dam to ensure it was on the rise.

The Mentri Besar, who could not say if water rationing would be implemented again, said the decision to call off the rationing would be reviewed from time to time.

Asked whether the rationing was being called off in time for the PKR polls, in which he will be contesting for the deputy party president's post, Khalid denied it.

He also refuted claims that the rationing was being called off upon the instructions of Selangor economic adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"The calling off of water rationing has nothing to do with the PKR elections as the decision was not mine alone but made collectively and professionally by relevant parties," he said.

On the safety of the water that was being pumped into Sungai Selangor from disused mining pools, Khalid said the water had been long tested for its safety.

The pools that would provide alternative water supply had been identified by Luas since 2009, said Khalid, adding that samples had been tested in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

He said the exco in charge of infrastructure Dr Yunus Hairi would be explaining the tests carried out on the water samples soon.

"He will explain if there is metal residue in the water and we will also get chemists' reports," added Khalid.

There were three levels of testing and all levels must be passed before the water went to consumers, he said.

In KANGAR, Bernama reported SPAN chairman Datuk Ismail Kasim as saying that consumers would be able to use water as normal from today.

Any decision to continue the scheduled water distribution would be made depending on the water level at the dam and raw water capacity, he said.