SHAH ALAM - Selangor residents are in for dry days ahead as the state government embarks on water rationing as a stop-gap measure to handle the water crisis.
The last-minute move is bound to catch millions of residents here off-guard, with most failing to stock up on water. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim yesterday announced that the rationing exercise would affect consumers statewide.
The exercise, to enable the state government to channel water to much-needed areas, is expected to affect major residential and commercial hubs in the Klang Valley, such as Petaling Jaya, Klang and here.
The situation is expected to mirror that in August 2012, when the closure of four water treatment plants in the state affected more than a million consumers statewide.
After chairing the weekly executive council meeting here, Khalid said the move would allow the state government to channel water to areas severely affected by the water crisis since Feb 7, like Bukit Tampoi in Dengkil and Cheras Batu 11.
"We have divided the areas into two zones. Water will be pumped into Zone One for two days before we channel it to Zone Two for another two days, and vice-versa. This is to ensure that no area will have to go without running water for more than two days."
He said water pressure would be low initially, but residents would have running water for 30 hours straight. He said to enable this, the state government would reduce the water discharge at four water treatment plants.
The reduction in water discharge from the Sungai Selangor dam will affect Sungai Rasa, Sungai Selangor Phase 1 (SSP1), Sungai Selangor Phase 2 (SSP2) and Sungai Selangor Phase 3 (SSP3), causing disruption in areas dependent on them.
The process will occur in four stages. The first is to reduce water discharge by seven per cent, the second by 10 per cent, the third by 15 per cent and finally, by 20 per cent.
"In the first stage, raw water distribution will be reduced by 200 million litres per day, followed by 300 million litres in the second stage, 400 million litres after that, and eventually, 500 million litres.
"Up to 950 million litres of water will be extracted from SSP1, 900 million litres from SSP2, 700 million litres from SSP3 and 110 million litres from the Sungai Rasa water treatment plant."
Khalid said the Selangor Water Management Board had informed him that the state's raw water supply was at a critical level, which led to a decrease in water levels at some dams.
He lashed out at Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), claiming it was supposed to initiate an emergency contingency plan to help people begin saving water earlier.
"Even now, Syabas has failed to present its schedule for the rationing. I was told that it refused to assume the responsibility and handed it to us," he said, adding that the state government had engaged its Economic Planning Unit and National Water Services Commission to enable the state government to "step in".
Khalid said the rationing was necessary, as the dams were needed to store water that could last more than two months. He said he had met Syabas representatives, local government authorities and the state treasury to fine-tune its implementation. The rationing is expected to last until the end of March.