IPOH: Perak is unable to supply raw water from Sungai Perak as proposed under the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS) to Penang, as studies show that the state does not even have enough for its own use, Perak menteri besar Saarani Mohamad said today.
He said the matter had been informed to Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow and his delegation who were present during a meeting at the menteri besar’s office in Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan here, on Tuesday.
“All parties, including the environment and water ministry, Perak (state government) and Penang have done studies on whether the water supply is adequate for the state.
“Previously, former menteri besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu had in his reply to the ministry, informed that Perak was ready to help, but it would be subject to the condition that there was sufficient water supply for domestic use in Perak,” he said.
He said this at a press conference following the opening ceremony of the Perak Women and Community Development Secretariat Office (Wanita Perak) here, today.
Saarani said the state also took into account the water resources required in agricultural areas, especially the water level at the Bukit Merah Lake Dam, which could affect the padi planting schedule during hot and dry weather, requiring cloud seeding efforts to increase rainfall.
“This shows that Perak also has water supply problems, and at the same time, the State Economic Planning Unit has forecast that by 2050, the population of the state will reach three million people, where even more water supply will be needed.
“Besides that, Invest Perak has proven to us that in the coming period, the state will be flocked by foreign investors, especially from the European Union who want to open industrial plants, and this requires a lot of water,” he said.
Commenting on the water source of Sungai Perak, Saarani said there were four Tenaga Nasional Bhd electricity dams along the river which were used to run the country’s electricity supply.
“Hence, a lack of water reservoir levels would affect their performance.”
According to Saarani, scientific studies also found that taking water from the Chenderoh Dam would cause water supply problems to the residents around Kampung Gajah, Parit and Teluk Intan, and therefore, the decision had been made not to go ahead with the water transfer scheme.
On Feb 21, Chow said Penang had drawn up a water contingency plan, and studies had been done from as early as 2009 to obtain alternative water sources by 2025.
According to him, the study identified Sungai Perak as an alternative source of raw water, with the energy and natural resources ministry being aware of the matter.
The SPRWTS project was proposed by the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) to utilise Penang’s second water source in Sungai Perak to meet future water supply needs for Penang and northern Perak until 2025.
Last December, Saarani was reported to have said the state government had yet to finalise any decision on the sale of water to Penang, as it was still looking into several matters with regard to the Penang government’s request.