Selangor to ration water until December?

Insiders say if the water levels decrease and rain does not fall over the water catchment areas, rationing could continue until the end of the year. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Insiders say if the water levels decrease and rain does not fall over the water catchment areas, rationing could continue until the end of the year. — Picture by Choo Choy May

CYBERJAYA, April 2 — Phase four of water rationing in the Klang Valley begins on Friday but talks on phase five are already taking place as water reserves at dams in Selangor continue to drop below critical levels.

Insiders say if the water levels decrease and rain does not fall over the water catchment areas, rationing could continue until the end of the year.

“The water supply from the dams is not enough to supply water to more than seven million users in Klang Valley,” said the source.

“Phase five may begin soon and if the condition worsens, there is a possibility rationing could continue till December.”

The source said the Selangor government must come up with a plan to overcome the current water woes.

“The state government should find new water sources to overcome the problem.”

Selangor had earlier this month launched the Hybrid Off River Augmentation System (Horas) project — a storm-water harvesting system and accumulation of groundwater. The first phase, however, would only be completed by July next year while the Horas will be up and running by 2020.

It would reduce the reliance on dam and surface water and would be able to meet demand during prolonged dry seasons.

However, the source said the Horas project should have been carried out years ago as it may take a long time for dams to be filled up due to the present hot season.

“Even though it is raining, it is too hot and rain water falling in catchment areas is evaporating,” the source said.

National Water Service Commission (SPAN) chairman Datuk Ismail Kassim yesterday announced that once phase four begins, 1,340,231 households and 6.7 million users in nine districts in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya would be affected.

He said phase four would be implemented with phases one to three, which wouldcontinue until April 30.

The main areas which will be affected are Gombak, Petaling, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat and Sepang. Affected areas will receive two days of water supply and two days of rationing.

Ismail said if water rationing was not implemented, the possibility of the dams drying up further may cause a worrying impact for the Klang Valley residents.

“We cannot have water rationing in Selangor on alternate days like in Mersing, Johor, because there are more users affected in Selangor,” he said.

“If we do alternate days, some households far from the source will not have enough time to fill their water tanks.”

Ismail said the Selangor government would reduce the release of an additional 500 million litres daily (mld) of water supply, which results to a release of 600 to 800mld instead of the average 1,600 to 1,800mld.

SPAN said the water level in the Sungai Selangor dam had dropped drastically, unlike previous years.

Meteorological Department deputy director general Alui Bahari said:  “The ongoing dry weather happens when there is a climatic change, and there is a change of pattern this year compared to previous years.

“Rainfall has been consistent all these years and we are only seeing a change this year. If we look at the long-term pattern of 30 years, the climatic changes do not vary drastically.”

He said April and October were usually the wettest months of the year with an average monthly rainfall of between 200 and 350mm.

Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) director Md Khairi Selamat said cloud seeding operations will continue in the coming days, as the weather will be conducive for the event to take place.

LUAS is also pumping raw water from underground water and former mines to add to the Sungai Selangor dam.