Is this water disruption in Penang (for up to four days from 10 January) for justified? Check out this article by Chuah Chong Lai in Aliran: Why cut water for up to four days in Penang?
It is all a far cry from the halcyon days of the Penang Water Authority, under its then legendary supremo, the late Kam U-Tee, when such prolonged or repeated disruptions were practically unheard of. Kam laid a solid foundation for Penang water storage, supply, treatment and distribution. (Check out the tribute to Kam here.) It was also the era when Penang boasted non-revenue water loss of well below 20%, unlike today. What has happened since then?
Did the state neglect the regular maintenance of water infrastructure in its obsession with its pet mega-projects? You know, the cable cars, the reclamation frenzy, the crazy (and expensive) highway building – all this when the population of Penang is barely rising.
Or have the troubles with Penang water anything to do with the corporatisation of the Penang Water Authority (from PBA to PBAPP) and the ensuring focus on profit margins rather than maintenance spending?
So how are you coping with the disruption of water supply? Did you splurge on buying big pails and basins to store water for a few days – if you had the spare cash, that is? Have you shut down your business for a couple of days? Have you been forced to take no-pay leave or replace lost work hours with longer hours on other days? Or have you taken this occasion to ‘abandon’ Penang, at least for a few days – ‘water refugees’, so to speak?