Every major festivals in Malaysia such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas Day, the townspeople will return to their respective villages. This will lead to increased demand for water supply in the area. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) in June 2017, water supply during the festive season will increase dramatically five to six times more than usual. Preparatory activities in celebration of festivities are also a factor in increasing water demand.
The problem of water disruption during the festive seasons is an issue that has been delayed and no solid solution has been implemented. Almost many states experienced similar problems, including Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor, Pahang, Perak, Johor and Negeri Sembilan.
Among the cases that have happened are as follows:
1. February 18, 2010, several areas in Negeri Sembilan have problems with water supply disruption during the festive seasons.
2. July 9, 2016, the water supply operated by Air Kelantan Sdn Bhd (AKSB) is alleged to have water issue and it has been delayed until the festive season. In fact, it caused consumers to be frightened after the water coming out from the pipe was in yellow color.
3. October 30, 2016, the Deepavali celebration was affected by the temporary closure of the Semenyih Water Treatment Plant.
4. 19 December 2016, residents in the Klang Valley suffer from water disruption due to scheduled pipe repair works that take up to four days. The pipe repair works have disrupted Christmas day celebration.
January 30, 2017 the second day of Chinese New Year was ushered in with unscheduled water disruptions affecting several areas in the Klang Valley. The disruptions were due to isolated pipe bursts and technical problems at some water pump stations, which happened from 2am well into the evening hours yesterday.
June 29, 2017 residents around Semenyih expressed concern over the water supply being cut off from bursting pipes as it could affect the daily lives of residents. Disconnected water supply makes it difficult for the people to carry out activities on the first day of the holiday.
July 27, 2017, Kampung Pida 3 and 3 1/2 in Jerlun Kedah has been suffering from a disruption of water supply which has been delayed since Aidilfitri as a result of broken pipe at Bukit Mengkuang Pond and also installation of valve cause the pressure to drop in Padang Perahu Pond.
In addition to water disruption, other factors that cause water supply disruption problems are the pollution of raw water sources, the WTP’s downturn or the bursting of broken pipe cases in the obsolete main pipes, aggravate the current situation. Furthermore, the process of reconstruction of water supply which has taken a long period of time has also given rise to water supply problems to consumers.
Clean and sustainable supply of water is important to consumers, especially during the festive seasons. The festive season is a time to be celebrated with family and relatives. The absence of water during the festive celebration will turn down the mood for celebration.
Accordingly, the scheduled repair works of the water drainage pipeline should be conducted at least two weeks earlier. Where, in the event of unscheduled repair works such as piped burst or low water pressure, state-owned water operators need to take immediate action and provide more water tankers to accommodate consumer demand for a while. Water operators also need to place water tank in the most frequent water disruption areas to occur. In addition, state water operators need to ensure that water treatment plants are in good condition.
In addition, the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) and the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) need to draw up a strategic action plan to address the problem of water supply disruption during the festive seasons. In conclusion, the Malaysian Water Forum in collaboration with the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) will formulate a memorandum on this issue to the authorities such as water operators, SPAN and KeTTHA, so that proactive and efficient action can be taken immediately. It is hoped that the disruption of water supply during the festive season will not be repeated.
Nur Imani binti Abdullah
Forum Air Malaysia