KL water cuts dampen Christmas

Residents are storing water in anticipation of a scheduled water cut that began yesterday in the Klang Valley.
Residents are storing water in anticipation of a scheduled water cut that began yesterday in the Klang Valley.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Supply likely to be restored by Thursday after outcry; about four million residents and business affected

KUALA LUMPUR • A scheduled water cut in greater Kuala Lumpur that began yesterday is expected to last until Christmas Eve, drawing flak from citizens and politicians alike for being insensitive to those celebrating Christmas.

Nearly four million residents and businesses in the Klang Valley are affected by the cuts.

In response to the public outcry, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry said yesterday that piped water would likely be restored by Thursday, two days earlier than planned.

Meanwhile the National Water Services Commission announced that in future, all water companies will not be allowed to do maintenance works during festive seasons.

The disruption, first announced last Thursday, is to allow power utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to service its substations at Bukit Badong that power the Selangor River's water treatment plants.

According to The Star, the uproar prompted Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali to clarify that he would meet stakeholders to look at ways to speed up the maintenance work.

PREPARED FOR DISRUPTION

We are ready to clean the clothes manually instead of using washing machines, which require more water.

LAUNDRY SHOP OWNER EMA SAARI, who has stored enough water to keep her shop running for two days.

"The state's directive is that we want the disruption period to be shortened so that those celebrating Christmas will not be affected," Datuk Seri Azmin said.

"From the initial report I received, the disruption is not likely to last up to six days because the treatment plants are not entirely closed. We still have generators running to continue treating the raw water," he said.

Klang Valley residents accustomed to sudden water shortages are not holding their breaths however, preferring to take their own measures.

The Star reported that laundry shop owner Ema Saari has stored enough water to keep her shop in Gombak running for two days.

"We are ready to clean the clothes manually instead of using washing machines, which require more water," she said.

Hotels, meanwhile, have built-in solutions. "Most hotels, especially those with their own buildings, were built with a water reserve system in place," Malaysian Hotels Association chairman Sam Cheah told The Star.

Cafe owner Chang Wee Ming is worried that the prolonged shortage will lose him customers who have booked their Christmas events at his restaurant.

"We have a 1,136-litre water tank but we can only use a maximum of 757 litres, which will last for maybe two days," he told The Star.

TNB has explained that the preventive maintenance work at its substations had been scheduled since Oct 31, and takes place only once in three years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline 'KL water cuts dampen Christmas'. Print Edition | Subscribe