Do more to curb water wastage, say experts.

CRITICAL: Industry must institute good housekeeping or situation will get worse.

KUALA LUMPUR: ONE of the main factors adversely affecting water supply in Selangor is the high rate of non-revenue water, said secretary-general of the Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia, Foon Weng Lian.

He said the long neglected high rate of non-revenue water (NRW) in past years, between 33 and 36 per cent, had impacted the supply of water in the state.

NRW is water that has been produced and is “lost” before it reaches the customer, such as through leaks, burst pipes, theft and inaccurate metering. For instance, a leakage could occur when heavy vehicles use roads that are not designed to take the extra load, thus, fracturing underground pipes.

The current rate of NRW means that for every 100 litres of water produced, 33 to 36 litres never reach consumers.

“The reduction of NRW must become a top priority when it comes to water management and planning,” said Foon, adding that replacing old pipes alone would not be enough to tackle the problem.

“The water industry has to play its role. It has to institute good housekeeping and capacity-building for all water sector staff. Even the public must be made more aware so that they can act quickly by alerting water operators when there is a leakage, burst pipe or water theft.”

Foon believes that the current dire water supply situation could have been prevented and that it was allowed to get to such a critical stage because of politics.

Other experts also called for steps to be taken to curb water wastage.

“Malaysia’s NRW is high compared with other countries. Aside from efforts to ensure continuous water supply, we need to take drastic measures to reduce NRW to save treated water for consumption,” International Islamic University Malaysia’s water quality and modelling associate professor, Dr Zaki Zainudin Ibrahim, said.

In 2012, the national average of NRW was 36.4 per cent of the 5,474 trillion litres of piped water produced, while the figures for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya stood at 33.1 per cent.

“The water condition is indeed critical in Malaysia, especially the Klang Valley. If we continue to neglect our water resources and take it for granted, our situation will get worse,” said Zaki, adding it was integral to establish an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) system to promote the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources.

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