The allocation is 20% higher than the RM13b disbursed in the 11MP, says KASA minister
by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
THE government, via the Environment and Water Ministry (KASA), is expected to allocate up to RM15.6 billion which will be utilised in projects that could ensure the sustainability of water supply in the country.
KASA Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (picture) said the allocation, which is part of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), is 20% higher than the RM13 billion disbursed in the 11MP.
He said the 12MP budget, to be utilised within a period of five years, will be mainly for the strengthening of the country’s water supply system and infrastructure, and for the exploration of new water resources in the country.
“We will continue to allocate huge investments to increase the country’s water supply security through the provision of strategic and critical water infrastructure.
“Water infrastructure must be at a high level of readiness to avoid any shortage either for domestic or industrial consumption,” he said in his opening address of Asiawater 2020 virtual event yesterday.
Tuan Man said the investments will also focus on increasing and exploring new raw water resources, while increasing treated water production capacity and helping to better manage the non-revenue water (NRW) issue.
He added that KASA has taken several new initiatives and plans such as reducing the NRW at the current rate of 36.8% to 30% in 2025.
He said by 2030, KASA aims the NRW rate to be reduced to 25%.
According to the ministry’s data, an average of 5.93 trillion litres of treated water — more than enough to sustain the water demand in Selangor and Johor — were lost nationwide daily in 2017.
One of the main causes for water loss is the usage of asbestos cement (AC) type pipes which rupture easily.
According to 2017’s statistics, AC pipes were still used at nearly 27% or 41,560km nationwide.
To mitigate the issue of raw water pollution, Tuan Ibrahim said KASA will also study and improve loopholes in existing laws related to the environment and water, including the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and the Water Services Industry Act 2006.
He said the review would address issues pertaining to environmental criminals and polluters who are disrupting the water supply chain.
A company director and a road contractor, believed to be behind the latest Sungai Selangor water pollution incident last month, are facing a lifetime in prison for sabotaging water services in the state.
Prior to that, a 62-year-old man and his son, allegedly behind the raw water source contamination in Sungai Selangor, were charged with committing mischief by discharging effluents that disrupted piped water supply.
Due to the incidents, more than 1.2 million households, or four million Selangor residents, had to suffer unscheduled water cuts for days.
Tuan Ibrahim said amendments to the Acts could imply heavier fines and penalties to the wrongdoers, while ensuring legal provisions become an effective mechanism as a preventive and punitive measure.
“All these amendments are expected to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in 2021,” he said.
Tuan Ibrahim added that with the bigger allocation proposed for 12MP, treated water margin reserves in the country could be improved up to 20% by 2030.
In Budget 2021, an allocation of RM6.1 billion is provided for the development of the water and sewerage sectors.
The government is expected to finalise and announce the 12MP by early next year.
Read our earlier report