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Ensuring clean water supply
25/03/08 Zuhaila Sedek

There’s no pleasant way to say what might literally sound distasteful, but to come right out and say it: Due to an oversight in our laws, the water we consume from our taps could contain dust, rust, bacteria, fungus … and even worse.

This is because the tanks that store the water are often located in roof cavities where they are “out of sight, out of mind” and thus, neglected for years, even decades.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) programme manager for the environment desk Piarapakaran Subramaniam said without legislation ensuring the provision of clean water and the regular maintenance of tanks, health issues can arise, especially in stratified residential projects.

“Nobody’s writing to management and residents’ associations, telling them to take responsibility of their internal water supplies,” he said.

“Over the years, even low-nutrient environments can spawn harmful microorganisms that can be hazardous to health.”

Water tanks, Piarapakaran said, should be inspected “at least every six months”. Further, authorities such as the Water Services Commission (under the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications) should seek “to amend the relevant laws to ensure compliance, since they are responsible to ensure clean water is provided to the public”.

He said water service providers should also play a role in delivering clean water to all properties, especially residential units.

Until the shortcoming has been addressed, Piarapakaran suggested that all consumers “use filters to avoid bathing in or drinking dirty water”.

He also suggested that water tanks be flushed every six to eight months.

National House Buyers Association (HBA) secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said developers should prepare a checklist of items that house buyers should maintain diligently once their properties have been handed over, including water systems.

“This will ease the hand-over process for homeowners,” he said.

NST-Property attempted to solicit response from The Water Services Commission on the issue but it declined to comment.

Neighbouring country Singapore has already imposed strict rules under laws such as its Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations and Singapore CP48: Code of Practice for Water Services in order to ensure clean water for consumers.


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