One of the main causes of high pipeline leakages

I refer to Leo Paul's letter "Ensure quality of pipelines and installation". (The Star, Aug 25)

Under the National Water Supply Rules, all pipes and fittings used for water supply in Malaysia have to be approved by Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM).

Though the manufacturing process and the quality of the products produced in a factory may have been SIRIM-approved, the onus to ensure quality of the products delivered to sites rests on the water authority implementing the project.

Under the contract specifications, random samples of the products have to be obtained from the sites and sent for testing to ensure that the products meet the specifications.

But how often has this testing procedure been carried out? Hardly.

Nowadays one can even get away with impunity by using unapproved products openly.

A case in point is the use of unapproved DI pipes imported from Indonesia for a pipeline replacement project in Selangor, which was reported by the dailies in June last year.

Though the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communication was reported to have issued a show-cause letter to the concerned party for not using approved locally manufactured pipes, nothing has come out of it so far. And it looks like the party responsible for the blatant violation of the Water Supply Rules has been let off and got away scot-free!

In the water supply industry, Malaysia has, over the years, established all the requisite standards and specifications to produce "first world" water supply systems. But our "third world" approach to project implementation and maintenance has left a lot to be desired.

And this is one of the key causes of high pipeline leakages in Malaysia.

An edited version of the above was published in The Star on 29 Aug 06 with the title "Watered down by bad workmanship". 2007