GEORGE TOWN: The unscheduled water supply disruption in Penang yesterday serves as a wake-up call in identifying alternative water sources for the state in an emergency.
Gerakan vice-president Datuk Baljit Singh said while they fully understood yesterday’s situation, which caused major havoc for businesses and domestic consumers was not the doing of state-owned Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP), the absence of a “Plan B” in dealing with the situation was not acceptable.
Baljit said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who is chairman of the authority’s listed entity PBA Holdings Berhad, must take accountability for the absence of an alternative plan to supply water.
“The fact that Penang was ill-prepared for a situation where thousands of consumers had to contend with sudden dry taps is not acceptable. How can a company like PBAPP not have an alternative plan for such a situation?
“The need to identify an alternative water source for your paying customers is of utmost importance, whether they are multinational corporations whose operations are dependant on stable and uninterrupted water supply, hospitals, food operators or private homes,” he said.
Several parts of Penang experienced water disruption since early yesterday morning following the closure of Sungai Dua water treatment plant (WTP).
The operations at the plant had to be halted for four hours since 8am as the raw water flowing into the Sungai Dua WTP from Sungai Muda recorded high levels of turbidity.
The muddy and murky water flowing into the Sungai Dua WTP made it difficult for the plant to treat the water.
Residents in Kepala Batas and Tasek Gelugor on the mainland, including some on the island, had taken to social media to complain about the water disruption in their areas.
Baljit said the fact that water supply was only expected to be restored by noon today was unimaginable.
“Besides giving all consumers a discount on their next water bill for the inconvenience caused, the board members of PBA Holdings should also offer to have a deduction of their allowances as a sign of goodwill.
“For a state like Penang, whose water operator – PBAPP – has been a shining example nationwide of how water resources should be managed, yesterday’s incident tarnished its once-sterling image,” he added.
Baljit stressed that until and unless all water supply and contingency issues had been resolved, it was high time that both PBAPP and its parent company PBA Holdings stopped highlighting its application to the federal authorities for a water tariff review.