Singapore, KL to have 'regular exchanges' over water

A booth attendant displays a bottle of NEWater during Singapore International Water Week, on June 26, 2008.
A booth attendant displays a bottle of NEWater during Singapore International Water Week, on June 26, 2008. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to "institute regular exchanges" to address concerns over water supply caused by low rainfall in recent months, Singapore's Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said yesterday.

MEWR and its Malaysian counterpart will monitor and implement measures to mitigate concerns over falling water levels in Johor's Linggiu Reservoir and ensure a reliable supply of water for both countries.

There are concerns that low rainfall can cause salinity intrusion in the Johor River, and disrupt Singapore's ability to draw its entitlement of 250 million gallons a day from the river, the ministry said.

The river can meet up to 60 per cent of Singapore's water needs. Low rainfall saw the Linggiu Reservoir water level drop to a record low of 43 per cent last November.

MEWR issued the statement after Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli met Malaysian Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Maximus Ongkili in Malaysia yesterday.

Both men also agreed that climate change presents challenges to all countries, MEWR added.

Mr Masagos also met Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. They welcomed the excellent environmental cooperation between both countries, and called for greater collective action in tackling the perennial transboundary haze pollution in South-east Asia.

The two men also reaffirmed their commitment to work together to exchange information and address any potential environmental impact of land reclamation projects in the Strait of Johor, MEWR said.

Singapore had said last week it was concerned that reclamation work for some Malaysian projects in the Johor Strait had begun without the needed environmental impact studies. It also said not all reports of studies done were shared.

Mr Masagos also met Federal Territories Minister and Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore, KL to have 'regular exchanges' over water'. Print Edition | Subscribe