Selangor Journal
National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairmanCharles Santiago atthe Global Warming and Environment Forum after the launch of the book Malapetaka Iklim and Ke Mana Hilangnya Katak Hijau comic at PJ Live Arts, Petaling Jaya on 21 February 2024. — Picture byFIKRI YUSOF/SELANGORKINI

SPAN urges Putrajaya to allocate funds, help states address non-revenue water issue

By Sofia Nasir

PETALING JAYA, Feb 22 — The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) is calling on the Federal government to allocate RM10 billion annually to help address issues concerning the management of non-revenue water (NRW). 

Its chairman, Charles Santiago, said the fund can be distributed to state water operators to, among other things, replace old pipes, which has been identified to be among the leading causes of NRW due to poor maintenance. 

According to Santiago, the country is estimated to have lost about RM8 billion over the past five years due to the issue of NRW, with the cost expected to balloon in the coming years. 

“If we don’t resolve this problem, we may lose up to RM20 billion more in the next five years. This is not something to be proud of. 

“I hope the government can help to provide a RM10 billion fund a year to assist state water operators replace old pipes, subsequently reducing NRW.” 

He was speaking as a panel member at the Global Warming and Environmental Forum at PJ Live Arts, here, last night. 

The forum, which was held in conjunction with the launch of the Malapetaka Iklim book and Ke Mana Hilangnya Katak Hijau comic, was moderated by state executive councillor for environment Jamaliah Jamaluddin. 

The other panellists were activist Hishamuddin Rais, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Centre director Dr Khamarrul Azahari Razak and non-governmental organisation Greenpeace Climate and Energy representative Hamizah Shamsudeen.

According to Santiago, Perlis recorded the highest percentage of NRW water in Malaysia at 68 per cent. 

Selangor, Penang and Johor have the best NRW management, respectively recording about 28 per cent. 

He added that considering water is a fundamental necessity that can threaten national security, the responsibility to manage it should be shouldered by all parties regardless of background.

“Many people are actually using water beyond the daily requirement set by the United Nations, which is 165 litres per day for each user. 

“Some enjoy washing their cars every day, and this is an unhealthy lifestyle. We cannot constantly wastewater because the world is facing significant climate change,” he said.

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