SHAH ALAM, July 17 — Selangor dams are overflowing with water in the current rainy season, the state government said today, refuting claims of a shortage by utility Syabas, which now says its needs another treatment plant.
Selangor state exco members Ronnie Liu and Xavier Jeyakumar made unofficial visits to observe the water level at the state’s dams today to disprove allegations of low water levels by Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).
“Most of these dams are scenic areas. The locals can tell you if the water levels are normal or not. So far, it has been raining the past few days, there have been no dry spells, so why is Syabas calling for a water ration?” Liu told The Malaysian Insider.
Last weekend, Syabas had asked the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) to allow a water-rationing programme. The utility said things were dire due to the dry season and subsequently, had activated an emergency response plan last month.
But Liu said the water level for all of Selangor’s seven dams was either at a high or highest level, adding he visited three dams.
“Now, I’m just waiting for the state’s Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) to publish their report,” he added.
Jeyakumar visited the Semenyih dam this afternoon and said there was sufficient raw water supply.
“I don’t know what is Syabas’ reason now.” he said, when explaining the overflowing dams.
“Even during our talks with the federal government, it was always mentioned that 2015 would be when the water crisis should happen, not 2012,” he added.
Jeyakumar also wanted to know what Syabas’ plans are to tackle future crises.
“Syabas has had time to deal with the upcoming water crisis. If there was a problem with filtration, why haven’t they moved on this? The question now should be: what have they been doing?” he said.
Commenting on Syabas’ insistence that the Langat 2 water treatment plant be constructed, Jeyakumar noted that even the completion of the plant would not help Selangor states’ water woes.
“Langat 2 can’t supply Selangor by itself. As such, it is really starting to sound like a conspiracy by certain people.” he said.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced yesterday that the state will use Clause 32 of the concessions agreement with Syabas to allow it to step in and manage operations of the water supplier.
But Syabas today denied that it had failed to fulfil its duties.
“This is a baseless accusation and not true at all,” Syabas Technical Services Executive Director, V. Subramaniam was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Subramaniam said the water crisis at present is the result of a shortfall in treated water for distribution caused by the refusal of the state government to issue the development order for the construction of the Langat 2 treatment plant.
“It is also the result of the state government’s failure to gazette the tariff adjustments as stipulated in the concession agreement,” he added.
Subramaniam also criticised the statement by Khalid as being inaccurate and confusing, when he said the raw water currently available in the dams was sufficient, to the point of overflowing.
“Actually, the issue of a water shortage, refers to the treated water needed to meet the needs of consumers,” he added.
He said that the state government under Khalid had directed that the capital expenditure of Syabas be frozen and this had also hampered efforts to reduce the rate of non-revenue water loss.
Subaramaniam also clarified that this matter had been made known through nine meetings of the Syabas Board of Directors over the past two years.
The Selangor state government has a 30 per cent interest in Syabas.
“Each time the Board met, the state government was informed of the situation through its representative on the critical water shortage. But no action has been taken by the state government to date,” he said.
He said at the same time, the state government’s failure to gazette the tariff adjustments had caused Syabas outstanding arrears to operators of the treatment plants.