Agreement reached on Perak-Penang raw water scheme, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar told the Dewan Rakyat today that an agreement has been reached for raw water to be channelled from Perak to Penang.

He said the Sungai Perak Raw Water Scheme (SPRWS) covers two components: the channelling of raw water from Perak to Penang, and the construction of a water treatment plant as a joint venture between the two states.

He said one proposal is for raw water from Perak to be sent to a water treatment plant in the state, after which it will be sent to Penang.

“We have discussed both components with the Penang and Perak governments. There is an agreement to implement the project in the future.

“The matter is still being discussed. We will continue discussions to see how we can implement the project in Penang,” he said during the question-and-answer session.

Xavier was replying to Chow Kon Yeow (PH-Tanjong) who asked about the progress in discussions concerning the SPRWS.

The Penang government had begun looking to Perak for a sustainable supply of water as its sole source, Sungai Muda on the mainland, can only meet needs until 2025.

Xavier (PH-Kuala Langat) said they would also have to undertake a study on the possibility of the water being used in agricultural areas in Perak, such as Kerian.

On the progress of the Penang Water Supply Corporation’s (PBAPP) review of the water conservation surcharge by the National Water Services Commission, Xavier said the surcharge would be discontinued.

He added that this had been considered in the tariff setting mechanism (TSM).

To a supplementary question by Chow, who is also Penang chief minister, on whether the TSM has already been set, Xavier said the ministry had yet to bring it to the Cabinet, and that discussions are ongoing.

In 2009, the Penang government mooted a plan to extract raw water from Sungai Perak and pump it through a tunnel to Sungai Ijok.

Sungai Ijok is a southern flowing tributary of Sungai Kerian, which is shared by Penang, Perak and Kedah.

Upon completion of the tunnel, PBAPP would build a water treatment plant on Penang’s side of Sungai Kerian.

Although approved by the federal authorities in 2012, the plan was not implemented by the federal government.

The SPRWS is expected to cater to the water demands of Penangites until 2050.

The construction of the 14.8km tunnel is expected to cost the federal government about RM2 billion. The cost of building a water treatment plant at Sungai Kerian will be borne by PBAPP.