DAP MP: Malaysians use 500l water a day, three times more than Singapore
KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Malaysia must start harvesting rainwater and ramp up consumer education measures, a DAP lawmaker said today as the country teeters on the brink of a national water crisis.
Citing a 2003 study, Klang MP Charles Santiago rang the alarm as he said Malaysian households use a whopping 500 litres of water a day compared to Singapore’s 155 litres and Thailand’s 90 litres, while the United Nations’ (UN) recommendation is 200 litres per day.
He also upbraided Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) — the main water supplier in the country’s most populous state as well as the neighbouring federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya — for resorting to water rationing instead of exploring other measures to conserve water.
“Stopping cars from being washed saves up to eight times more water compared to water rationing,” Charles told a joint press conference with PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and PAS’ Khalid Samad at the Parliament lobby here.
“Water of about 3 million litres per day is conserved, because one million cars times 25 litres for one car wash equals 25 million litres per week, which works out to 3.5 million litres per day,” he added.
According to Charles, the study was carried out by Professor Dr Chan Ngai Weng, who is now the president of consumer awareness group, Penang Water Watch.
The federal lawmaker warned Malaysians that the water problem was here to stay, even as two major dams in Selangor reportedly have just about 80 days of water supply before hitting critical level.
“After one month of water rationing, the government only managed to save a nominal seven per cent,” said Charles.
“The government’s strategy is clearly not working. Households are merely rescheduling their water consumption. The Selangor state government, including SPAN and Syabas, have taken the lazy way out by resorting to water rationing,” he added, referring to two water concessionaires.
Pandan MP Rafizi said Putrajaya should instruct Indah Water Konsortium to improve their filtration system to reduce the ammonia content in the sewerage water coming out from sewerage plants.
“The sewerage treatment plant releases ammonia content of between 20 and 30 milligrams per litre. It goes into the rivers. But the water treatment plants can only process three milligrams per litre.
“So we’re forced to rely on the rain to dilute the ammonia content. How long are we going to wait for the rain?” Rafizi told reporters.
English daily The Star reported Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) director Md Khairi Selamat today as saying that the water treatment plants in Batu 11, Cheras, and Bukit Tampoi were reopened on March 30, after they were previously closed due to high ammonia levels in rivers.
The fourth phase of water rationing in the Klang Valley is expected to end on April 30 since the exercise started early last month.
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