Penangites urged to reduce water usage, taps could run dry in the future

SITI NURSURAYA ALI

GEORGETOWN: Education, awareness and a rise in tariff are among the strategies taken by Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) to manage water demand in the state.

Its Chief Executive Officer Datuk Ir. Jaseni Maidinsa said it is important to get the people of Penang to use less water in order to meet the future demands.

“The water supply from Sungai Muda will be fully utilised by the year 2020 and the river cannot meet future demands,” he said when met at the water demand management forum at the Penang Institute here.

When asked about other plans to conserve water, Jaseni said the state had seen a drop in water consumption after they introduced water surcharge.

“In 2010 there was a drop in water consumption when the surcharge was introduced but to be realistic, only 23 per cent of Penang consumers use too much water, usage for the remaining 77 per cent of consumers is average,” he said, adding the PBAPP had raised the water surcharge again in 2015.

Jaseni also said with issues at the Ulu Muda dam and the water deal with Perak still pending, consumers in Penang must reduce their water usage.

“Currently Penang’s average water consumption for domestic user is at 286 litres per person per day, 37 per cent higher than the national average of 209 litres per person per day,” he said.

Penang’s water tariff stands at RM0.32 per 1000 litre, while the national average for water tariff is at RM0.77 per 1000 litre.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Ulu Muda logging isu, Jaseni said it will have a direct impact to Penang’s water supply as 84 per cent of the state’s raw water supply is from the area.

“At the rate they are logging, in 12 years, all water catchment areas will be gone,” he said.

Jaseni is pleading and urging for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to take immediate and drastic action to stop logging in Ulu Muda catchment area.

“We also seek the Federal government’s help in solving the issue with Perak’s water deal soon,” he said.