GEORGE TOWN: Penang will again launch another bid to tap Perak’s water resources to meet increasing demand after a study by Putrajaya said it was feasible to do so.
Penang infrastructure and transport committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the study by the natural resources, environment and climate change ministry found Sungai Perak would be able to provide for those living in upper Perak and Penang at the same time.
According to the ministry, Sungai Perak could supply water to consumers in upper Perak, Penang, and those in Chenderoh and be used for irrigation purposes up until 2050.
Perak had previously turned down Penang’s plans to draw raw water from Sungai Perak, saying it had to cater to demand in the state.
“The Penang government has sent a letter to the Perak menteri besar to renegotiate a revival of the Sungai Perak raw water transfer deal,” Zairil said.
Zairil was replying to Lee Khai Loon (PH-Machang Bubok) who had asked about Penang’s efforts in bolstering water security in the state.
The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) previously said 2,000 million litres a day (MLD) could be tapped from Sungai Perak – the second-longest river in the peninsula – if a transfer scheme was allowed.
The past Perak government under Zambry Abdul Kadir agreed to send Penang water, but in treated form at 70 sen per 1,000 litres, which was refused by Penang.
The Penang government felt it was too expensive and went against federal convention where only raw water, not treated, could be sold between states.
Penang’s overall water consumption was 860 MLD of water in 2021, with demand expected to rise nearly two-fold to 1,532 MLD in 2030. The state’s domestic consumption was at 305 litres per capita per day (LCD) in 2021, beating the national average of 226 LCD.
The state takes 80% of its water from Sungai Muda, a river that flows into Seberang Perai. However, with the recent floods in Baling, the same river had brought too much mud, forcing the state to find other sources of water.