Johor aims to not depend on Singapore for treated water by 2022: Minister

PUTRAJAYA • The Malaysian government expects Johor to no longer be dependent on the supply of treated water from Singapore by 2022, said Minister for Water, Land and Natural Resources Xavier Jayakumar, Bernama reported.

The effort to reduce dependency on Singapore for treated water would be made through ensuring treated water in Johor was sufficient, he said.

"We have to make sure Johor has sufficient treated water and does not need to get it from Singapore, which is why we have to provide new water treatment plants in Johor. The capacity must reach 260 million litres a day. We already have an understanding that by the year 2022, we will have this capacity," Dr Xavier told reporters in Johor on Monday.

Asked if the effort will have an effect on the Water Agreement talks between Malaysia and Singapore, Dr Xavier said there would be no effect and the agreement still stands, Bernama reported.

Under the 1962 Water Agreement, which expires in 2061, Singapore is entitled to draw up to 250 million gallons a day (mgd) of raw water from the Johor River at three sen per 1,000 gallons.

Johor is entitled to buy 5mgd of treated water from Singapore at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.

Singapore has said this price for treated water is heavily subsidised and below the cost of treating the water. Singapore has, in practice, been supplying 16mgd of treated water at Johor's request.

Separately, Dr Xavier said the ministry had agreed with the Johor state government on steps to tackle river pollution in the state through more efficient management of sewage waste.

"Both parties also agreed on forest management, especially involving the conservation of forest reserve areas as a national heritage," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2019, with the headline 'Johor aims to not depend on Singapore for treated water by 2022: Minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe