Chief minister: Melaka won’t let water woes become annual affair

Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari (right) greets people during the Melaka State Government Monthly Assembly in Melaka October 4, 2019. — Bernama pic
Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari (right) greets people during the Melaka State Government Monthly Assembly in Melaka October 4, 2019. — Bernama pic

MELAKA, Oct 7 — Since the last episode of water woes which affected 25,167 account holders in the state last month, the focus is now on the state government and Syarikat Air Melaka Berhad’s (SAMB) plan to ensure that the problem will not be an annual event.

Chief Minister Adly Zahari, when asked, insisted that the people should not be burdened with water woes in the future and that the state government has drawn up plans and improved the existing mechanisms to ensure adequate water supply for the people.

While refusing to play the blame game, he said the water supply disruption issue which ended on Sept 30 was mainly due to the problem of inadequate water sources, which should be addressed earlier as the state moving towards being a developed and a tourism state.

He said efforts to turn Melaka into a developed state and to promote it as a tourism state should be in line with the state’s water sources to meet the water consumption capacity of the people and tourists.

“Various other factors also contributed to the water supply disruption, including low rainfall, increased population and tourist arrivals. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse. The state government is committed to addressing the water supply issue by taking some contingency measures,” he told Bernama.

For the record, on September 18, Melaka experienced a 13.9 per cent decrease in its treated water supply, which led to the disruption, as the SAMB could only manage to produce 550 million litres of water per day, a far cry from the consumers’ demand of 639 million litres per day.

People fish in the middle of Jus Dam in Melaka September 17, 2019 due to the low water level. — Bernama pic
People fish in the middle of Jus Dam in Melaka September 17, 2019 due to the low water level. — Bernama pic

Adly said Melaka received its water supply from neighbouring states, namely 220 litres per day from Muar, Johor and 1.7 million litres per day from Negri Sembilan, and additional demand would be sought if there was an urgent need such as drought.

However, he stressed that Melaka could not rely solely on its neighbouring states for water supply, hence action had been taken to expedite the implementation of the off-river storage (ORS) project in Tasik Biru, Jasin, and Jernih Dam in Alor Gajah.

“At the same time, efforts are being made to ensure that water supply to the state’s dams, including in Durian Tunggal and Jus can be enhanced through the transfer or pumping of water from the Gersik River in Johor and the Tasik Biru,” he said.

High water usage in urban areas has also prompted the state government to consider making seawater a viable source of water as implemented in developed countries, he said, adding that it could be implemented in Melaka for a maximum of 50 years.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said the state government was also reviewing the use of river water, especially from the Duyong river and the Malim river as one of the state’s raw water sources, especially in urban areas.

He said the state government and the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources were also in the midst of coordinating the state’s water management plan to ensure that the water supply would be adequate and well kept, especially during the monsoon season.

SAMB was recently awarded Malaysia Outstanding Water Award for Management 2019 after the Malaysia Outstanding Water Award for Research 2018 last year by The Malaysian Water Association. — Bernama

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