PETALING JAYA: The agency responsible for managing the Sungai Dua water treatment plant, which supplies water to both Kedah and Penang, will implement a 24-hour work schedule to avoid a repeat of the water supply disruption in the two states in May.
The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) said Pejabat Pengurusan Lembangan Sungai Muda’s (PLSM) shift to a 24-hour work schedule was one of several mitigation measures to be implemented immediately.
In a statement today, SPAN said PLSM will also enhance its existing standard operating procedures related to flood control, water supply, and agriculture at the treatment plant.
PLSM will repair all damaged systems and equipment, upgrade control and monitoring systems to the latest technology, establish an inter-agency body with relevant parties as well as develop a comprehensive emergency action plan outlining early warning, prevention, mitigation and recovery measures in the event of damage or failure of the dam, it said.
On May 14, the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) said the major treatment plant at Sungai Dua had been unable to draw water from the river when its level dropped by half to 1m instead of the normal 2m, causing a disruption to water supplies.
Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor later said a sensor failure at a river barrage caused a floodgate to open, letting the river water flow out to sea. The river is the main source of raw water for Penang.
The disruption affected more than 400,000 consumers in Penang and more than 200,000 in Kedah.
Following the incident, SPAN chairman Charles Santiago said he would go to Kedah and Penang to investigate the water supply disruption.
On May 26, SPAN set up a committee to identify the causes of the disruption and draw up recommendations for the relevant agencies to improve their operations.
It attributed the disruption to a failure of the automation system at the dam, an inadequate warning system for low water levels, inconsistent river monitoring between PLSM, Syarikat Air Darul Aman Sdn Bhd (Sada) and PBAPP, as well as weaknesses in coordination among all relevant agencies during emergencies.
SPAN said Sada and PBAPP incurred costs of RM1.2 million and RM333,000, respectively, for restoration works following the disruption.