KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — The Selangor mentri besar was confusing the public with his announcement on water rationing in the state, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) said today as it moved to divert blame over the ongoing water crisis.
Following Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s comments yesterday that the state would initiate water rationing today, the water utility said the exercise will now only begin on Thursday.
While “thanking” the Selangor mentri besar for unveiling a mitigation plan to address depleting water levels in the state, it also disputed Khalid’s claim that he was forced to implement the measures due to the firm’s lack of preparation.
“Therefore, the accusation by the Selangor Mentri Besar that SYABAS did not prepare the Scheduled Water Distribution Plan is not true at all,” the company said in a statement today.
When commenting on the water rationing plan in Selangor to conserve water levels in dams, Syabas acknowledged the Selangor government had on February 21 discussed the reduction of raw water from the Sungai Selangor dam by 600 million litres per day and treated water supply by 500 million litres per day.
But Syabas said its hands were tied as industry regulator National Water Services Commission (SPAN) — which is the only body authorised to do so under Water Services Industry Act (WSIA) 2006 — had yet to give its nod.
It claimed the Selangor state government’s proposed water rationing would cut off water supply to three million consumers in some 750,000 households or over one-third of consumers in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
The planned water rationing also does not take into account important areas such as hospitals, dialysis centres, business outlets, factories and government offices, Syabas said.
“Furthermore, Syabas is only given two days by the Selangor state government to prepare a scheduled water distribution plan for involved areas of this big scale even though the proposal has yet to get SPAN’s approval,” the state’s sole supplier of treated water said in a five-page statement.
While pointing out that the Selangor government holds a 30 per cent stake in the company, Syabas also complained that Khalid had repeatedly ordered it to prepare plans for scheduled water distribution without offering the state’s assistance.
In the same statement, Syabas insisted today that it had already prepared plans for scheduled distribution of water in three districts in Selangor — Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang.
Yesterday, Khalid said water rationing would begin in the areas of the state worst-hit by the ongoing supply crisis, in which homes in the state will alternate between two days with supply and two days of dry taps.
The hot spell starting from January caused ammonia levels in raw water sources to rise, causing Syabas to shut down its plants in Batu 11 and Bukit Tampoi.
Both water treatment plants have remained closed since January 28, according to the Deputy Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid last week.
Several places in Selangor, including Balakong, Cheras and Pandan have gone without water for the past week.
Yesterday, water reserves at the Sungai Selangor dam fell below 50 per cent while the Klang Gates was now at 54 per cent.