By Charles Santiago
All I said was that the Selangor Government needed a special committee headed by the Menteri Besar, Azmin Ali, to consider sustainable water conservation efforts.
I also backed my recommendations with calculations and numbers about the fast dropping water levels at the Sungai Selangor and Semenyih dams.
One day later, Elizabeth Wong, who is Selangor tourism, environment, green technology and consumer affairs committee chairman goes ballistic.
Wong went on to unnecessarily attack me in the media, accusing me of wild allegations based on inaccurate calculations.
According to her, Selangor is well-prepared to ride out the prolonged dry spell.
However the Selangor Government is focusing on supply management and not demand management or conservation.
How can my observation be so wrong?
Water levels in the Sungai Selangor and Semenyih dams are fast depleting at a daily average of 0.62% and 0.47% respectively.
Conservation approaches are therefore urgent given that the country may face hot spells up to the middle of the year and this coincides with the fasting month that starts on the first week of June.
The Selangor state government must put in place strategies for conservation such as educating people, businesses and government agencies to use less water and reduce leakages. For example, Selangorians must be advised to reduce the number of times they wash their cars.
The Selangor Government must achieve a 25% reduction in water consumption from the present 232 litres per day to 175, in line with the Asean average, and then reduce consumption further to just 150 litres per day, which is the global standard.
Water auditors must be appointed by the state to play the vital role of agents to identify leaks, overuse and wastage while embarking on a paradigm shift from consuming like there is no tomorrow to consuming efficiently in order to prevent a full blown water crisis.
It is true that Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Perlis and Johor are facing severe water shortage issues. However just like these states, Selangor too has also been forewarned of the consequences of El-Nino.
As such, I would like to think that the Selangor Government would initiate a comprehensive conservation strategy that can be emulated by other states.
Making recommendations for leadership by example cannot be all that wrong, can it?
Once again I reiterate that the Sungai Selangor dam will reach a critical level in 42 days if weather patterns persist.
The state government says it has enough water to weather the El Nino phenomenon.
However if the current weather situation is here to stay, can the state guarantee that the water level will not dip to below 40%?
So, let’s look at conservation efforts seriously instead of indulging in a turf war.
Charles Santiago is MP for Klang.
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