Call for waiver of water tariff for Kluang for a month

water rationing Kluang

Media statement by DAP Johor Chairman and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong on 4th March 2014

I call on Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin to decide at tomorrow’s State Exco meeting to waive Kluang water tariffs for a month as a sign of a responsible government accepting responsiblity for the worsening water crisis in Kluang.

While the ongoing dry spell has affected the entire peninsula Malaysia, Kluang is one of the worst hit areas due to long term issues yet to be addressed by the State Government. The two previous water crises in Kluang were in 2005 (three months of water rationing) and 2010 (two months of rationing).

The water shortage in Kluang exposes the underlying problems of poor governance and delivery failure of multiple government agencies.

One key issue is that Sembrong Dam was built primarily for flood mitigation purposes and not for water supply. The dam is managed by Department of Irrigation and Drainage.

The supposed catchment area for Sembrong Dam is about 130 square kilometer (13,000 hectares) but a large part of these catchments are private agriculture lands which means less water is being captured by nature and poorer quality of water due to flows of peticides and fertilisers from neighbouring plantations.

The review of the National Water Resources Study (2000 – 2050) and Formulation of National Water Resources Policy, released in August 2011, clearly shows that the government was fully aware of the impending water shortage in Kluang since as early as 2000 but it failed to take appropriate measures to address the long term crisis.

The report also shown that the Kahang Dam was proposed in the National Water Resources Study 2000 (NRWS 2000) and projected to come on line in 2005. It would provide a yield of 134 million liter per day (MLD) – enough for domestic demand of 500,000 people. It was not implemented.

The report has also documented that water crisis occured in Kluang and Paloh during the Chinese New Year holiday in February 2010. The report proposed to implement the Kahang Dam project immediately (at that time) in order to alleviate water resources shortage problem. It had been projected that the Kahang Dam would be required in early 2014. Today, the Kahang Dam has yet to be completed.

In view of the above, the Johor State Government owes the people of Kluang an explaination for its repeated failure to take swift action in solving the preventable water crisis before it reached such a critical level.

I therefore call on the State Government to decide at its Exco meeting on Wednesday to waive the water tariff for Kluang for a month as a sign of accepting responsiblity as well as a commitment to prevent future crisis.

Liew Chin Tong

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