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TREATED WATER SUPPLY SECURITY IS UTMOST IMPORTANT TO FIGHT COVID-19

PRESS RELEASE

Date: 19 MARCH 2020 (THURSDAY)

TREATED WATER SUPPLY SECURITY IS UTMOST IMPORTANT TO FIGHT COVID-19

The Federal Government is implementing a very important step to curb the spread of Covid-19 and water is vital in keeping the disease from spreading. Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) is disappointed with irresponsible parties polluting Sg Selangor river and causing temporary unscheduled disruption on the night of 17th March 2020. This river and its 4 water treatment plants supply almost 60% of water needs to Klang Valley.

Due to movement control order, AWER is estimating domestic water consumption will increase but this demand increase will be eased by shutdown of non-critical commercial and industrial activities. At the same time, hospitals and other health related facilities as well as critical industrial activities (approved by government) will still require treated water. In addition to that, up keeping personal hygiene and washing hand has been recommended as one of the most effective way to prevent spreading of Covid-19. We could not imagine the negative repercussions if the Sg Selangor pollution prolonged similar to Sg Semenyih (almost 1 week) pollution incident in 2019. Water disruption and supplying water via tankers and static tanks will make the Covid-19 spread situation uncontrollable.

Most illegal dumping of wastes takes place during rainy season due to dilution factor and inter-monsoon season is reaching west coast of Peninsular Malaysia now. AWER urges Prime Minister and National Security Council (NSC) to further enhance water supply security until Malaysia successfully keep Covid-19 under control. The following suggestions can be published as additional order until Covid-19 is under control:
(i)    Pollution monitoring must be increased by Department of Environment (DOE) especially to raw water intakes points which are supplying treated water to low reserve margin areas. DOE as the leading agency must cooperate with water operator of all states and Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) as they will be aware of such locations.
(ii)    Ensure water operators are always prepared for emergency to immediately cater the treated water needs for hospitals and medical facilities if there is an unscheduled water disruption.
(iii)    Capital punishment to any individual or entity polluting the raw water and causing water supply disruption.
    a.    Under Section 121 of Water Services Industry Act (WSIA), jail terms, penalties and death sentences are listed as some of the punishments based on the impact of pollution.
    b.    We also urge the NSC to issue order to freeze the assets of the wrongdoers (company directors and shareholders) and the assets of the company immediately after the wrongdoer is detected by the authorities.
    c.    Due to current emergency situation, water supply disruption may aggravate the medical conditions of the patients and in a worst case scenario increase the number of infected patients immediately. If unscheduled water disruption due to water pollution causes this (increase of Covid-19 patients), we urge the NSC to treat this as sabotage to the national security and murder (in case it increases number of death).

These polluters are taking an easy way out while the nation is under tremendous pressure to save lives. The Federal Government must place utmost importance to prevent raw water pollution from occurring. AWER hopes together we as a nation will steer out of this crisis soon.

Piarapakaran S.
President
Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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