Awer calls for SPAN to manage Water Supply Fund
PETALING JAYA: The Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) has urged the government to place the Water Supply Fund under the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).
“SPAN is a technical, service and economic regulator for water services and they are better positioned to manage this fund to address water supply issues,” its president S Piarapakaran said in a statement yesterday.
The formation of the Water Supply Fund with a RM500 million allocation was announced by the prime minister during the Budget 2017 announcement last Friday.
“The allocation should be strictly for solving water crisis related capital expenditure (capex) only. Such capex can be linked to upgrading water treatment capacity, adding or increasing the capacity of pollution stripping facility and adding service reservoirs to boost reserve margin in low water pressure supply zones. Normal capex and operational expenditures must not be supported by this fund,” said Piarapakaran.
Awer also urged the government to adopt the Raw Water Quality Based Raw Water Tariff and Pollution Loading Factor For Wastewater Standard Upgrade mechanisms to ensure protection of upstream and downstream water catchment areas to create a holistic solution in water resource management.
Piarapakaran said all state water operators should be restructured under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 model and urged SPAN to reactivate the Non-Revenue Water (NRW) reduction task force, which was suggested by Awer in 2011 and approved by Cabinet.
“All NRW projects must follow strict deliverable requirements based on our suggestions to couple most critical NRW zones with highest connection per kilometre as high priority. This will allow high return on investment,” he added.
Awer urged the auditor-general to audit National Sewerage projects and allow SPAN to have full regulatory power over the technical and economic part of these projects, to avoid waste of public funds.
Meanwhile, Awer has called for an overhaul of the Energy Commission’s management and the closing of redundant agencies in the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA).
Piarapakaran said several agencies have overlapping functions and despite repeated advice by Awer, the government has yet to close down redundant agencies.
“Sewerage Services Department (JPP) has overlapping function with Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB), SPAN and IWK. Water Supply Department (JBA) has overlapping functions with PAAB, SPAN and water operators,” he said.
Piarapakaran said the Sustainable Energy Development Agency (Seda) and Yayasan Hijau should be shut down as their functions can be carried out by Energy Commission and GreenTech Corp Malaysia, respectively.