Water crisis: Blame the political game

Water Shortage

Selena Tay, FMT

On April 22, the 8pm news reported that in 29 days time the Sungai Selangor dam in Kuala Kubu Baru which supplies water to 60% of the population in KL and Selangor will reach the critical level of 30%. Currently its level is standing at 37%.

Therefore going by the above news report, the folks of KL and Selangor may have a golden opportunity to experience a ‘Water Emergency’ on or before May 22. This scary scenario had surprised many among the 50 people interviewed by this columnist as it was only about three weeks ago when we were informed that it would take about 71 days to reach the critical level which will then only be in June.

Why now May? Why is it that despite having rainfall this month, the situation at the Sungai Selangor dam has not seen any improvement? Is something amiss? Are there thieves stealing water from the dam?

It is thus a great miracle that despite having the presence of rainfall this month, this rain has somehow manage to avoid the Sungai Selangor dam.

It is also illogical that the number of days to reach critical has plunged suddenly from 71 to 29 as this shows that there has been a sudden spike in water consumption.

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has announced that water ration will only stop when the dam reaches 55%. In earlier days he had given the figure as between 65% to 70%. Sometimes he also gives the figure of 50%.

This columnist’s friend, Ahmad Lutfi Othman who writes in the PAS newsletter, Harakah has this to say: “Fakta berserabut, Kerajaan Selangor lembab dan tidak proaktif”. (Facts are confusing, the Selangor Government is slow to act and not proactive.)

Selangor and KL folks must now get ready for what can be labelled as ‘The Big Ration’. Even those who are not affected by the water ration now will be affected when ‘The Big Ration’ takes place.

This columnist who chanced upon an ex-colleague when paying bills at the post office recently heard him lamenting that “the water ration has caused much hardship because he has five children schooling and as he is holding two jobs and both he and his wife are working, they hardly have much time to store enough water for everyone and all their needs”.

Political game

Everyone who was interviewed said that the water problem boils down to politics. There seems to be no way out of this impasse as the water ration is a created one.

Said a noodle-seller in Kepong, “As long as they want to ration us, we have no choice but to keep quiet and work hard to store water.”

He is of the view that this so-called water shortage problem will go on because it is nothing but a political problem and not a water problem at all.

So far, this columnist’s uncle’s factory located in the Sungai Buloh industrial area has been spared. There are many factories in this area and if they are affected, then the consequences will be dire.

These days people have to take less baths and use water sparingly.

Eating out is a problem but cooking at home is also difficult. One needs to wash vegetables under a running tap, and chicken and fish need to be cleaned thoroughly. One solution is to eat tinned food, chicken nuggets, pre-prepared fish and chips, hash browns and the like.

Everyone has opined that in the worst case scenario, the water ration must stop before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which will begin at the end of June. There should not be any water ration during the months of Ramadan and Syawal (when Hari Raya Aidil Fitri is celebrated for one month).

Thus the rationing must stop at the end of June and discontinued henceforth.