Water, Water, Everywhere?

In 2002, the Likud Party won the Israeli General Elections and declared that it would object to the creation of a Palestinian state.  The issue: WATER.  Said Benjamin Netanyahu:

“A Palestinian state would control the aquifer, which gives us 30 percent of our water. Yes to a Palestinian state means no to a Jewish state, and yes to a Jewish state means no to a Palestinian State.”

That is how important water is to all of us, and I am constantly reminded of the hardship people in the Klang Valley had to go through during the water crisis of 1998, and the fact that it could happen again come 2014 (provided the Mayan Calendar’s gotten 2012 all wrong).  My fears are further underscored by this blog written by a friend who was a senior Water Engineer in pioneering Non-Revenue Water control work.

When Pakatan Rakyat gained control of Selangor in 2008, the first thing they did was to supply the first 20 cubic meter of treated water to consumers FREE OF CHARGE, a move I thought was foolish, unprecedented, and was definitely not carefully thought through of.  Nothing more than an election feel-good reward to those whom had vote for them, I believe it only encourages wastage of treated clean water as people do not have to pay for that first 20 cubic meters of water.

Then on 5th August of 2011, Elizabeth Wong, Selangor’s version of Fuziah Salleh of Kuantan (the former is the water “expert” while the latter is the nuclear “expert”) said in The Star that studies done on the growth in demand for water in Selangor by SYABAS was erroneous as it had relied too much on the National Water Resources Study (NWRS) conducted by the Economic Planning Unit in 2000.  That shows how shallow Eli Wong is, as SYABAS had used data collected over the last five years (2005 to 2010) to forecast the future of growth in demand for water.  In fact, Eli Wong went on to say that “… the “Water Demand approach” (SYABAS) used was based on the national GDP growth projection that varies according to the global economic market that has not been stable since the world economic crisis.”

Miss Wong, had you the ability to understand what you read, then you would know that the NWRS based its findings on four components: 1) Domestic Uses, 2) Commercial Uses, 3) Institutional Uses, and 4) Industrial Uses.  Only component (4)  uses GDP as a growth indicator for forecasting demands, and looking at what was written above by my friend, if the Selangor state government does not address this issue now, we may face a serious water shortage issue come 2014.

More alarming is Miss Wong’s continued feeding of misinformation over the Internet over the Selangorku website (SYABAS Gagal Turun Air Tidak Berhasil, Bekalan Air Bersih Terganggu) whether by default that she is ignorant of the water issue, or by design that this misinformation is fed to the masses to serve a much bigger agenda.

Air Tidak Berhasil or Non-Revenue Water for laymen like you and I actually means TREATED water that is lost through leakages in old pipes, theft and other methods, and not billed – cost was incurred to treat the water  but no revenue was able to be collected.  Eli Wong does not understand the economics of NRW.  To lower NRW level, it requires a form of investment. However, the economics of NRW is such that there comes a point where further lowering the NRW level will result in a cost that is too high for a water operator to bear.  The methods used to detect leaks etc is by no means cheap, nor is the replacement of old and faulty pipes.  Selangor is a huge state that the cost of replacing ALL these pipes would be beyond exorbitant.  For the same reason, Kelantan has less than 60% treated piped water supply coverage.  Penang on the other hand has a low NRW because it is far smaller compared to Selangor.  So, how does the PR-led Selangor state government plan to reduce NRW to 10 percent?  This is why the Federal Government has proposed for the building of the Langat2 plant for treating raw water supply from the neighbouring state of Pahang.  Without it, the current Selangor water buffer stands at 5 percent.  If any two water treatment plants in Selangor have to be shut at the same time, say for maintenance, then we will have serious water supply problems.

Water is a very important commodity in life.  Water is beyond necessity as it is life.  The Pakatan Rakyat’s gamble with this water issue should be seen as a gamble with the life of the rakyat.  And in my opinion, Eli Wong should just STFU and let the experts do their job.

2 Replies to “Water, Water, Everywhere?”

  1. Dear Mr SeaDemon sir,

    There is a popular saying “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, which means a small amount of knowledge can mislead people into thinking that the speaker is actually more expert than they really are.

    ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ and ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing’ have been used synonymously since the 18th century.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing is widely attributed to Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744). It is originally found in An Essay on Criticism, 1709:

    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again.

    From your article above it is obvious that you have done your homework and write from a position of some authority on the subject of water in Selangor.

    Elizabeth Wong is of course using the water issue to further her political mileage but unfortunately she lacks your commitment to thoroughly study the issue at hand and simply blasts away hoping no one will notice her ignorance.

    Too bad for her we can see the hole (pun intended) in her watery argument. It ain’t a pretty sight.

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