Solve water crisis, not just talk about it

The familiar alarm bells are ringing again when water levels in some Selangor dams are fast falling to near critical levels. In making this announcing the authorities also advised consumers to conserve water to avoid water rationing (The Star, 16 Sept).

The desperate call to reduce water consumption should not be made on an ad hoc basis and only when water shortage has become imminent. All parties concerned - the water authorities, consumers' associations and other NGOs - should promote water conservation all-year-round in a concerted manner to ensure that it would ultimately become a way of life for all.

I have in my letter entitled "Dam crisis due to overdrawing" (The Star 25 Aug.) stated, as a matter of fact, that overdrawing was why the dams were drying fast. Instead of just blaming the weather, the authorities should take proactive action to improve the operational management of river basins and their dams.

Also I am rather concerned about the many inaccurate and doubtful figures and data presented to the press by the Selangor's Infrastructure Committee Chairman. Such release of technical information should be by engineers and not non-qualified persons to avoid making fools of themselves.

The most glaring blunder was the figure quoted for the daily consumption as 3,700 million cubic metres instead of 3,700 million litres! And to safe half of this amount by consumers' conservation is just a wishful thinking!

The Sungai Selangor dam was quoted to supply 65% of the water used in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Sungai Selangor dam is merely an add-on system to provide raw water needed by SSP3 and Rasa water treatment plants. Other systems already in operation years before the implementation of this new system are the Sungai Tinggi dam and SSP1&2 water treatment plants. The combined capacity of all these treatment plants in the Sungai Selangor river basin, when in full operation at their maximum capacities, may constitute up to 65% of the current water consumption in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. And not Sungai Selangor dam only!

The Sungai Selangor dam, completed in 2003 was reported to be fully charged by the end of last year.

It is therefore alarming that after only nine months, the water in Sungai Selangor dam has been reduced to 40% when the SSP3 water treatment has only been operated at less than half its designed capacity of 800 million litres per day!

Things certainly do not look all right. The authorities should investigate and take corrective action. Don't just talk!

Note: An edited version was published on 22/09/05. 2007