AWER chief: Need for water rationing during dry season

With the dry spell here to stay until May, there is a need to carry out water rationing in a systematic and appropriate manner especially in areas where the dam levels are at 50 per cent. — Picture by KE Ooi
With the dry spell here to stay until May, there is a need to carry out water rationing in a systematic and appropriate manner especially in areas where the dam levels are at 50 per cent. — Picture by KE Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — With the dry spell here to stay until May, there is a need to carry out water rationing in a systematic and appropriate manner especially in areas where the dam levels are at 50 per cent.

Association of Water and Energy Research (AWER) president S. Piarapakaran said doing so would ensure that the existing water supply would last over a longer period.

“Such a measure would also control the excessive use of water because should there be rationing, users will automatically minimise the use of water in their daily activities,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Malaysia is expected to experience the dry weather until May this year with Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan recording less than the average annual rainfall of 25 per cent for the April-May period.

Three dams recorded a storage capacity of 50 per cent, namely the Muda Dam in Kedah (58.97 per cent) and two dams in Johor namely Machap (55.61 per cent) and Sembrong (54.07 per cent).

Explaining further, he said careful planning would have to be carried out before any rationing exercise was implemented such as giving at least two weeks’ notice to consumers so as to avoid “panic consumption” among them.

Asked whether it was necessary for the government to announce an emergency and subsequently enforce Section 56 of the Water Services Industry Act (WSIA) 2006, he said the association did not see any need for it as the situation was still under control.

“If the water margin reaches 40 per cent, maybe it (an emergency) can be considered ... however, so far, we have never announced a ‘water emergency’,” he said.

WSIA is a special power during emergency related to water resources provided to the Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources.

Section 56 of the act, among others, empowers the minister to prohibit the use of water in general or for specified purposes, limiting the use and discharge of water at any given time, and imposing additional charges over usage exceeding the prescribed limits. — Bernama

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