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Put emergency water plan in action

PETALING JAYA, 12 May 2009: The Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) today called on all water concessionaires and operators to immediately activate emergency response plans to caution consumers on the importance of water conservation during the dry spell.

“The operators should begin a nationwide trial run on the plan urgently so as to gauge its efficiency and condition consumers as what they should do during a shortage,” said Fomca’s Environment Desk programme manager S Piarapakaran.

He explained that all operators were equipped with the plan as it was a requirement for their licensing and all it needed was for them to put them in motion.

Dry spells are nothing new in Malaysia and it occurred during May to September each year, but the intensity varied, he said.

Piarapakaran said the plan called for water rationing and control and also regular maintenance of water resources and distribution system.

The Meteorological Department had predicted temperature to soar during the dry spell, from between 30.7°C to 34.1°C

He said it was also time for the operators to adopt the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) drinking water safety plan as a long term preventive measure.

According to a WHO study, the basic water requirement was 180 litres per day per person, but in Malaysia it was almost double, ranging between 300 to 400 litres per day per person.

He said it was necessary for consumers to be educated on how to conserve water and to harvest rain water for use in non-drinking purposes like washing and flushing.

Piarapakaran said the operators should also advise all managements of high rise buildings on ways to cope with water shortages.

Meanwhile, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry had informed all operators not to “panic” during the dry spell, but to keep to their schedule of maintenance to ensure adequate supplies to consumers.

The Ministry’s spokesperson told Bernama that from past experience it was noted that some operators were panicky and released too much water from the dams.

He explained that all raw water should be tapped directly from the rivers and the dam water should only be used as a last resort.

He said generally dams in Malaysia were designed for storing enough water to last for between 4 to 6 months during extreme drought.

The spokesperson said the operators should also ensure that all pipes in their distribution system were in good condition to prevent leakages.

“For this it is absolutely necessary for operators to give extra emphasis on providing frequent checks and provide extra maintenance crew,” he added. — Bernama

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