A Herculean task to resolve water woes

One can fully understand the difficult task ahead for Minister of Energy, Water and Communications to resolve the water woes in this country, especially in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. He has asked for more time to look into the Federal Government's takeover of water supply from the state governments and the establishment of the new National Water Commission (The Star, 21 May, 2004).

The Minister has also acknowledged "the water problem is a very serious problem". It is hoped the he would prioritise the various water problems in this country and find appropriate solutions to overcome them.

It is unfortunate that the Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, has his hands full as he has inherited the legacy left over by his predecessor when water was under the Ministry of Works.

As far as the water supply in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya is concerned, besides the perennial dirty tap water, sufficiency of supply of potable water after year 2006 is a major concern.

This is the undue delay in the implementation of the mammoth Pahang/Selangor raw water transfer scheme. This scheme was identified in the early 90s and the design works were to have started in 1999 with construction scheduled to commence in 2001 for completion in 2006.

It is now 2004 and still no one has any inkling when this scheme is going to kick off. Even if the project starts now, it will take five years to complete, i.e. in 2009 or 2010, and Klang Valley will be in dire straits from 2007 onwards when the demand for water in Selangor would exceed supply, as often been announced by both the state and Federal Governments.

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said that this interstate water transfer project would be implemented but will only be completed in 2009 - missing the target by at least two years!

Therefore water shortages in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya after year 2006 is now a foregone conclusion and it is hoped that Datuk Seri Dr Lim would focus his full attention now to alleviate this problem before it is too late.


An edited version of this article was published in The Star, 26 May 04.

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