KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 — Over 44,000km worth of old asbestos-cement (AC) pipes will need to be replaced to reduce leakages, according to the Malaysia Water Association.
Its president Syed Mohamad Adnan Mansor Alhabshi warned that leakages could worsen if the repairs are delayed, The Star daily reported today.
He suggested for repairs to be financed by raising tariffs gradually.
“We need to have a clear plan. The pipes don’t have to be replaced all in one go. Work can be spread over a long period, such as 20 years.
“The pipes can be replaced with mild steel, ductile iron or steel pipes,” he was quoted saying.
Leaky pipes is said to be among the main causes of non-revenue water (NRW) besides theft, which also causes low water reserve margins.
NRW is treated water that is produced but is “lost” before reaching consumers.
Malaysia has an average NRW of 35.5 per cent according to statistics from the Malaysia Water Industry Guide 2016.
Syed Mohamad Adnan said the NRW could be reduced to below 20 per cent if the old pipes are replaced and better management instilled.
“There is also a need to gazette water catchment areas and clean and manage rivers to ensure sufficient supply of raw water for water treatment plants,” he added.
Meanwhile, USM water resources, hydrology and flood hazard management and climatology expert Prof Dr Chan Ngai Weng told The Star that many states in Malaysia had very low or negative water reserve margins.
He described Perlis, Penang, Selangor, Malacca and Negri Sembilan as “water-poor” states that required more attention in terms of water management.
“Population increases, urbanisation, industrial and agricultural usage in many states stretch water supply to its limits.
“Malaysia’s per capita water usage at 211 LPCD (litres per capita per day) is more than Singapore’s 152 LPCD and the amount recommended by the World Health Organisation of 150 LPCD,” he added.