Despite a slight drop in water consumption in Penang from 291 litres per person per day in 2010 to 285 litres in 2011, it is still higher than the national average of 203 litres.
PBAPP must clarify whether the above figures include industrial water usage per capita. If not, has the industrial water usage been rising or falling? We cannot have double standards for industry and domestic use with only domestic users urged to conserve water.
Statement from the Penang Chief Minister:
DESPITE THE 6-LITRE PER CAPITA DROP IN DOMESTIC WATER CONSUMPTION (3.2 BILLION LITRES) TO 285 L/C/D IN 2011, PENANG IS FAR BEHIND THE NATIONAL AVERAGE CONSUMPTION OF 203 L/C/D.
For the first time in nine years, Penang has recorded a drop in domestic water consumption. In 2010, our per capita domestic consumption was 291 litres/capita/day (l/c/d) as compared to the national average of 203 l/c/d. In 2011, Penang’s per capita domestic consumption was 285 l/c/d. This is equivalent to a reduction of 1.9%, or 3.2 billion litres.
As a a water-stressed state with the highest per capita domestic consumption in Malaysia in 2010, Penang desperately needed to cut down on water wastage and water consumption. NGOs had said that Penang suffered the highest water consumption because Penangites enjoyed the lowest water tariffs and did not value water.
Penang’s domestic water tariffs (an average of RM0.31 per 1,000 litres for the first 35,000 litres per month) are the lowest in Malaysia. PBAPP subsidises RM 58.9 million last year to ensure that Penang enjoy the lowest tariffs in Malaysia. There is 100% urban supply coverage and 99.7% rural supply coverage in Penang last year.
NGOS had also severely criticised the state government for refusing to increase water tariffs and had also dismissed the Water Conservation Surcharge(WCS) imposed on those who waste water as grossly inadequate. In November 2010, PBAPP introduced a Water Conservation Surcharge (WCS) of RM0.24 per 1,000 litres for consumption above 35,000 litres per month to curb domestic water wastage.
Whilst accepting the criticisms by the NGOs that the water tariffs and WCS is too low and inadequate, the drop of a mere six litres per person per day is still significant because this is the first reduction in per capita domestic consumption since 2004. DESPITE the 6-litre per capita drop in domestic water consumption (3.2 billion litres) to 285 l/c/d in 2011, Penang is far behind the national average consumption of 203 l/c/d. Although 285 l/c/d in 2011 is less than 291 l/c/d in 2010, we are still well off the target set for 2011. Just to remind everyone, our target for 2011 was 233 l/c/d.
No Increase In Water Tariffs To Ensure That Penang Continues To Enjoy The Lowest Water Tariffs In Malaysia But Water Conservation Surcharge(WCS) May Be Increased If Water Consumption Is Not Significantly Reduced.
The public must recognise that Penang is a water-stressed state. The Penang state government assures that there will no increase in water tariffs to ensure that Penang continues to enjoy the lowest water tariffs in Malaysia. However WCS may be increased if there is no further significant reduction of water consumption. All 1.6 million Penangites are urged to use water more wisely at home(visit pba.com.my for water saving tips) or else billions of ringgit are required to build new intakes, dams, reservoirs and pumping stations, as well as to lay additional pipelines to ensure water is available for all.
Besides offering the lowest water tariffs in Malaysia, PBAPP is also the most efficient. PBAPP recorded the lowest water loss through water theft and pipe leakages with the lowest Non-Revenue Water(NRW) of 18.4% in Penang in 2011. This achievement compares favourably with the national NRW average for 2010 was 36.2%.
PBAPP’s other key initiative to reduce water consumption in Penang in the future was to promote the installation of water saving devices (WSDs) that reduce water consumption automatically. WSDs include water-saving shower systems (heads, handsets and control systems), tap equipment (heads, sinks, bibs and mixers) and toilet systems (dual flush systems, flushing cisterns and bidets) as well as washing machines and dishwashers.
As part of our efforts to transform Penang into an international city, our water authority must also develop international benchmarks. I wish to also congratulate PBAPP for winning the international “WaterLinks” Award for “Best Water Operator Partnership” in 2011 together with PDAM Tirta Musi Palembang of Indonesia.
WaterLinks represents the International Water Association (IWA), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). PBAPP helped PDAM Tirta Musi to improve continuous water supply and increase access to safe drinking water for the benefit of 150,000 residents; and water supply availability has been upgraded from 12 hours a day to 24 hours a day in Palembang.
LIM GUAN ENG