10 July 2020

Four-days has been scheduled for upgrading works of Selangor River Treatment Plant (LRA) Phase 3 (LRA SSP3) will affect 420,000 account holders in 290 areas in Petaling, Klang, Gombak, Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Langat. 

Consumers will experience scheduled water supply disruptions from July 14 to July 17 when several major pipelines are replaced to improve the system and plant operation's efficiency.

Even though Air Selangor has committed to mobilizing 91 water tankers to all critical premises such as hospitals and dialysis centres and will activate eight local service centres (PKS) and provide six public water pipes from July 16 to 17, to help affected customers, will this include and be sufficient for all domestic consumers.

Many staying in high rise building, vulnerable consumers such as people with special needs and the elderly will be burdened by the water supply disruption. Water disruption that lasts up to 4 days will actually disrupt the daily life of the Consumers.

Many Consumers are already burdened with financial issues after the MCO, and this is compounded by the burden of water disruption not one day but up to 4 days.

It is 2020 now, consumers in Malaysia should not face water supply disruption. The issue of water supply disruption is not something new, but it seems to be an annual event for the people of Selangor. On Sept 28, 2019 there will be unscheduled water cuts in parts of Selangor after Semenyih river treatment plant was shut down due to pollution affecting 370,000 account holders. In 2018 around 500,000 people in Selangor had to go without water in their taps for seven days after Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor (Splash) had to carry out repairs at the Sungai Selangor Phase 3 (SSP3) water treatment plant.

Based on SPAN’s 2019 Annual Report, a total 11,844 scheduled and unscheduled water services interruptions cases were reported in year 2018 Selangor. As our country grows and is equipped with a wide range of advanced technologies, the water service infrastructure also needs to be enhanced according to the technological advances.

During the RMCO period, it will be a great challenge for consumers to maintain social distancing and personal hygiene. Furthermore, it will also be a challenge for students who are starting school on July 15 onwards. The report also shows that 86.6% are domestic accounts and non-domestic 13.4%.  Since the majority affected are domestic accounts holders, Forum Air Malaysia suggests to postpone all upgrading works to after the RMCO. This will support our National Security Council (MKN) and Ministry of Health (MOH) who are currently doing everything in their power to ensure Malaysians maintain social distancing and hygiene which may be impossible when consumers are struggling for water during these 4 days.

Advising consumers to use water wisely during this scheduled water supply disruption period does not address the importance of water during this Covid-19 pandemic.  Water is the most basic consumer need. This water supply disruption will also disrupt small business consumers who sell food or beverages where they need adequate water supply to maintain their level of cleanliness. These people just want to start their business after the MCO and have not yet felt the benefits but have to face a new problem which is water supply disruption. This will of course disrupt their source of income as well.

The proactive action for Air Selangor should be to increase the water margin to reserve water for at least 3 days during this upcoming upgrading works. Air Selangor should consider continual improvement planning and implementation through breakthrough ideas and stop burdening consumers including businesses from time to time. It is time to for us to improve by learning from countries such as Singapore where consumers hardly face any water disruptions due to maintenance or upgrading facilities by the authorities.

Ms. Saral James Maniam

President of Forum Air Malaysia