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ADUN SPEAKS For the first time in our history, Malaysia is experiencing the effect of climate change in water management. This year, our rains in the wet months no longer fell into the dams, which serve as the water storage in the dry season.

Such a natural phenomenon has led to water crisis in a number of states in Malaysia, with Selangor being the hardest hit due to its dense population and rapid development.

One of our biggest potential problems during the dry season is the water shortage in Sungai Selangor, which supplies 60 percent of the water for the Klang Valley. As of today’s readings , the dams that store water from Sungai Selangor - the Sungai Selangor Dam and Sungai Tinggi Dam, have only 54 days of reserve water [1].

The only confirmed emergency plan known to us so far is using nine mining ponds as additional water storage. However the total capacity of these nine mining ponds is 21 million cubic metres (Mm3), which is equivalent to only seven days of reserves. Adding this to the dam reserves, Sungai Selangor only has 61 days of confirmed water storage.

However, the looming dry season is expected to be for  90 to 120 days this year. Therefore, there is an urgent need for us to increase our water storage to prevent another round of prolonged water rationing during the dry season.

State must be ready with emergency plans

I believe that the state government should get ready to execute other emergency plans announced previously (assuming feasibility studies were done), such as using Thailand cloud-seeding technology called “The Royal Rainmaking Technology” and the extraction of underground water .

Selangor should promptly confirm with the Thailand government on the date of availability of the cloud-seeding services and identify the locations of aquifers and necessary infrastructure needed for groundwater extraction. In addition, I believe the state government should seriously consider pumping the excess rainwater from the river to the dams in the next three to five weeks, while we still have a lot of rain.

And, for the sake of the people, the federal government must give the state government full support as we face the drought under such an uncertain weather pattern.

Although we need to store more water for the dry season, I do not encourage further water rationing during the rainy days, unless we can pump the raw water saved through water rationing from Sungai Selangor upstream to the dams or to other water reservoirs. (If extra water is not channelled to the water reservoirs, the excess water will only flow to the sea.)

Proactive and urgent measures are needed at this critical time. I call upon the state government to take all necessary steps to increase our raw water storage and keep water rationing and water emergency as the last resort when dealing with water crisis.

[1] Sungai Selangor Dam reserve: 91.67 Mm3, Sungai Tinggi Dam reserve: 71.3 Mm3, Sungai Selangor raw water requirement: ~3 Mm3 per day. Days of reserve = (91.67+71.3)/3 = 54.3 days

YEO BEE YIN is the state assemblyperson for Damansara Utama.

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