Providing good water and sewerage services for the nation is always a priority of the Federal Government, says Nik Nazmi
SHAH ALAM - Providing good water and sewerage services for the nation is always a priority of the Federal Government, says Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
In an opening speech at the Water Malaysia Malaysia Conference 2023, Nik Nazmi said the current government is determined to ensure that all Malaysians will enjoy better access to clean water and that the sector can be taken to higher levels during their term.
Therefore, he stressed that Malaysia needs to work hard to maintain the infrastructure which provides water and sewerage.
"Hence, it is the duty of these assets’ custodians to provide the necessary maintenance and care as part and parcel of their environment and social governance (ESG) commitment.
"Good management and maintenance of these scale assets such as dams can minimise the risk of structural failure and help keep the public safe," he said.
Speaking on Malaysia's water challenge, Nik Nazmi said there is still a lot more that needs to be done, particularly in ensuring sustainable and uninterrupted water supply, as well as reducing non-revenue water (NRW) levels.
"At present, our NRW level is at 37.2 percent, signifying a loss of more than RM2 billion a year. Moreover, there are segments of society that still require support in accessing water supply and the Ministry is looking into ways to assist some states to ensure that their population can equally enjoy clean water supply.
"Water disruptions, regrettably, occur largely due to poor maintenance culture and the absence of good asset management practices. Good water asset management is contingent on delivering safe drinking water to our homes and businesses through conveyance pipelines, pumping stations, treatment plants, and other infrastructure.
"We want to make sure that all the assets, systems, and infrastructure are reliable and that citizens get the most out of their investment in the form of well-maintained infrastructure. The ultimate goal is to ensure safe and reliable drinking water and sanitation for all citizens," he said.
Nik Nazmi said out of 104 dams in the country, 41 are classified as high-risk of which nine are for irrigation, 18 for water supply, and 11 hydroelectric and three for agricultural purpose.
"In relation to this, the NRECC and its predecessors have maintained a Flying Squad since 2018 to inspect high-risk dams, led by the Water Services Division. Through this initiative, it was found that some dams are indeed in need of maintenance to prevent any unwanted structural failures that could pose risks to public safety.
"The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS) has also taken the initiative to develop the Malaysia Dam Safety Management Guidelines (MyDams) to provide technical guidance for dam inspection.
"It is our hope that these guidelines will be fully utilised by assets managers and the Ministry is working towards making this guideline a mandatory requirement in the near future," he stressed
Nik Nazmi urged all parties to work on resolving the water issue objectively, so that the people will not have to suffer, adding that it is important that the state governments, whatever their political hue, coordinate and work together for the sake of people.