Water supply restored to 96 per cent affected consumers

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Water supply in several areas affected by diesel contamination of Sungai Selangor have been restored 96 per cent while the emergency response code has been revised from Red to Yellow.

Water concessionaire Syabas said only Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Shah Alam and Gombak were experiencing supply disruptions and low pressure.

This development is due in part to the cooperation of operators in ensuring that "treatment plants are operating at maximum capacity," said Syabas corporate communication and public affairs department deputy general manager Priscilla Alfred.

A Code Yellow is for disruptions affecting only one district while Code Green is activated when the consumers hit number about 50,000 or less.

After the spill, Syabas activated its top emergency response of Code Red ,which is for supply disruptions affecting more than one million consumers.

As of noon yesterday, Syabas said the number of people affected had decreased dramatically to 4.2 per cent (63,390) of accounts from about 60 per cent (more than 880,000) on Aug 31.

The areas still affected included Batu 3 Shah Alam, Batu 8 Bukit Kemuning, Ampang Jaya, Bukit Antarabangsa, Jalan Ampang, Taman Sri Rampai, Setapak Jaya and Plaza Damansara.

Alfred said 413 trips were made to distribute clean water while 69 static tanks were put at strategic locations in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur, Petaling, Klang and Shah Alam.

However, she stressed that Syabas could not fulfil the demand of all of the consumers as there were too many of them.

The 55-year-old owner of the workshop in Jalan Batu Arang in Rawang, allegedly responsible for the diesel spill, has blamed his workers for the contamination.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Water Association has suggested building a ring-shaped distribution system in the Klang Valley to deal with future water shortages.

MWA president Syed Mohamad Adnan Alhabshi said a ring system would enable water treatment plants to link up and send water to areas lacking it.

"If one treatment plant is down, other plants with an excess capacity of water can supply areas affected by a shortage," he added.

Syed Mohamad said that population centres in the state were linked to specific treatment plants, and that different plants could not "push" their water to affected areas.

He cited the Thames Water Ring Main as an example, saying that London's water system was connected by this ring distribution.

Syed Mohamed said: "Some plants here, which don't have a problem of polluted water, can't push their water to help Petaling Jaya or Shah Alam. But if you have a ring main, it's possible to do this."

He, however, conceded that a ring main system would be costly and that land availability would be a factor.