Singapore supplying more treated water to Malaysia

Extra six million gallons per day for 3 days at the 'urgent request' of Johor water authority

Water pipes seen along the Causeway linking Singapore to Johor. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore has started supplying an additional six million gallons of water per day to Malaysia.

This comes after Johor's water regulatory body Badan Kawalselia Air Johor (Bakaj) made an "urgent request" on Saturday to national water agency PUB, asking for an additional supply of treated water.

"Bakaj requires this water to stabilise its own supply system in Johor Baru after a shutdown on Wednesday, due to pollution in the Johor River," said PUB in a statement yesterday.

The agency added that it started supplying the additional amount of water yesterday and the arrangement will carry on until tomorrow. The extra amount of treated water is being supplied by the PUB-operated Johor River Waterworks.

The latest arrangement, however, will not affect Singapore's own water supply as the agency is able to increase its own local production at short notice, said PUB.

This means getting more water from desalination plants here, as well as reservoirs, to ensure that Singapore's water needs are met.

Last week, Malaysian daily The Star reported that effluents discharged from a palm oil mill have been identified as the main source of high ammonia content in the Johor River.

The pollution caused operations of three water treatment plants in Johor to stop, affecting some 600,000 users in the southern parts of Johor, said the paper.

PUB is entitled to draw 250 million gallons of raw water daily from the Johor River under the 1962 Water Agreement with Malaysia, which expires in 2061.

In exchange, Singapore is obliged to sell five million gallons of treated water to Johor each day. However, PUB has been regularly providing Johor with up to 16 million gallons of water on a daily basis. The new addition of six million gallons of water daily comes on top of this.

This is not the first time that Johor has asked Singapore to supply more water. There have been previous instances where Singapore had to supply additional water to Johor due to "urgent operational needs", said PUB.

Last month, Bakaj also requested that PUB provide an additional six million gallons of water per day for a month, following dry weather which severely affected water levels in Johor's Sungai Layang dam.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2016, with the headline Singapore supplying more treated water to Malaysia. Subscribe