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4 February, 2009

Don’t expose water catchments to development

ACCORDING to the Malaysian Water Industry Guide, 100% of raw water from the State of Perak comes from river and upstream catchments. It is also observed that Perak has among the highest water tariffs compared to many other developed states in peninsular Malaysia up to 20 cubic meters.

The percentage of non-revenue water recorded is around 30% in Perak. Comparing water supply operating expenditure in Selangor and Johor, Perak still scores a much lower value.

The recently proposed cable car project in Bukit Larut is a risk being taken by the state government. We have been informed that the measures to protect this hill started way back in 1997 by the Taiping Consumer Association, ERA Consumer and members of the public. A biological management study was conducted and published on Bukit Larut by Fomca and WWF.

Impact of global warming to national water security is vague and still uncertain. Proposed projects such as this pose further danger to raw water security.

For a state with abundant clean, raw water and low operating cost, the tariff is still high. If such developments go rampant, consumers will be further burdened with increase in tariff.

Forum Air Malaysia as an organisation that advises the Water Services Commission (Span) would like to urge Span and state governments to ensure that all water catchments are not exposed to any kind of development.

This can be done by permanently gazetting all water catchments from any type of development.

Ensuring good raw water quality can reduce operational cost and eventually a more equitable tariff to consumers.

We hope the Perak state government will protect all its water catchments with respect to basic human rights to have access to water. Loss in raw water quality results in increase to operational cost. It is basic economy.

 

DATUK INDRANI THURAISINGHAM,
President, Forum Air Malaysia

Source: The Star