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PUBLISHED: Apr 10, 2014 11:38am

Learning efficient water supply management from Malacca

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THE RAKYAT POST By:
The Rakyat Post

Selangor can stand to learn a thing or two from Malacca in efficiently managing and enhancing its water resources. — File pic

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MALACCA, April 10:

Many areas within the Klang Valley are still under water rationing due to the hot spell since early this year that drastically reduced the water levels in the reservoirs in Selangor.

Though for the last two weeks Klang Valley residents have seen rain that helped to avert a major water crisis, water rationing is still on until the water reserves reach sufficient levels.

Nonetheless, the water woes faced by the Klang Valley residents is nothing like what Malacca residents faced in 1991. When Malacca’s Durian Tunggal Dam dried up in early 1991, more than 600,000 people were affected and their water woes continued until early 1992.

However, lessons have been learnt and this time around unlike Selangor, the land of Hang Tuah was in a better position to manage the drought. And Selangor can learn from Malacca in efficiently managing and enhancing its water resources.

Realising that recurring water crisis would have political, social and economic implications, Malacca embarked on long termplan that included a water supply agreement with neighbouring Johor which was signed in 1993.
Boosting water infrastructure like dams, reservoirs, treatment plants, and canals is among Malacca’s long term plan that helped the state to face drought in the early part of this year.

And surprisingly while its neighbours Negri Sembilan and Selangor had to resort to water rationing due to low water reserves this time around, there was no water rationing in Malacca despite the long dry spell.

Nevertheless, there were plans to impose water rationing beginning March 29 if the drought continued but the south-west monsoon that replaced the north-east monsoon ended the drought and the water rationing plan in Malacca.

Speaking on the effective water management system employed by Syarikat Air Melaka Berhad (SAMB), Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron believes that the an efficient supply system is reflected by the output received from consumers.

Elaborating further, the former Tenaga Nasional engineer drew parallels between the output of a water supply system with the electricity voltage received by the consumers.

“In water supply, the concept is the same but the benchmark is the water pressure at the consumer’s end, whereby in Malacca I see the water pressure at the consumer end the same all over the state.

“Extreme high water pressure could damage the piping system, while extreme low pressure means less water at the consumer end…from here I see can see we have an effective water supply system,” he said when met by Bernama here recently.

The effective water management system provided better assurance in facing dry spells in the future.

“Malacca has its own contingency plans in managing with its water resources and can withstand droughts up to three months and we are constantly working to extend this time limit,” he said.

Malacca has three dams — Durian Tunggal, Jus and Asahan that can sustain maximum capacity of 75 billion cubic litres of water.

Apart from the dams, Malacca has three main reservoirs Kesang Satu, Kesang Dua and Tasik Ayer Keroh and other smaller reservoirs and water facilities.

Apart from the 300 million litres of raw water from Sungai Malacca, the state also receives up to 100 million litres of raw water daily from Sungai Gerisik in Muar and more than 54 million litres daily from Sungai Kesang.

According to Idris, what is more interesting is that all dams, reservoirs, rivers and water facilities in the state were inter-connected through man-made or natural connections.

The Durian Tunggal dam is connected with Sungai Kesang and the reservoir in Kesang by natural means.

“When the need arises we can use the canals to channel the water to the Durian Tunggal dam, but the process is not as easy as switching on and off the electricity…we have to pump the water and do a lot of things,” he said.

It has been reported that Malacca needs about 500 million litres of water daily and the current capacity could meet the demand only until 2017.

In extending the capacity, Malacca has taken numerous initiatives among others signing additional water supply agreement with Johor in 2013.

Under the new agreement, Johor will supply 159 million litres of water through Sungai Muar.

Apart from that, Idris said Malacca has also identified another water source — Tasik Biru in Chin Chin, Jasin that could complement the water needs of the state.

The lake that could store more than 378 million litres to fulfill the state’s water needs for another two to three weeks in the event of extreme dry weather.

Apart from that, he said, Malacca also has plans to set up a new retention pond in Sungai Jernih, Alor Gajah that would cater for the water needs in areas like Kuala Sungai Baru, Simpang Ampat and Lubuk Cina.

“We expect that with the new water sources we will be able to meet the water supply demand from 2017 to 2040,” he said.

However, Idris stressed that all the efforts taken by the state would not be meaningful if the people do not appreciate the resource and use water prudently.

This is especially so as it is reported that water usage in Malacca by consumers is high, that is 220 litres daily per individual compared with the national average of 180 litres daily.

 

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