Water Disruption 2019: So If It Is A Sabotage, What’s Next?

water

(Water disruptions and people queuing up to get water from public tanks – do we need this at this age where we have enough rain & raw water to be channelled to water treatment plant? Image source; NST)

You know how pissed off I was last Tuesday?

I was driving back from work – it was raining rather very heavily and some parts of the road were even flooded. I reached home and the rain have not stopped and found that the tap was still dry. It has been 4 days since the water supply was disrupted. Something does not add up, doesn’t it?

The water supply finally came back yesterday although the water pressure was low and there was one time when it stopped. But at least it was enough to do the laundry, wash the porch, replenish the water tank and finally to take a good bath. Effectively it took 5 days for the water to be back as normal – no thanks to the morons who had dumped the pollution into the IWK manhole which “leaked” into the water source for the water treatment plant.

And in those 5 days, we had to be very creative on how we going to manage the water stored at home.

It was a good thing was that the school holiday was not over. So I packed up the family off to my wife’s sister house in KL where there was no problem with water supply. Somehow, no one is polluting the city’s water resources on regular basis as compared to the Selangor’s one (especially Semenyih).

That left me alone in a house where the taps were dry – so what ever water I used came from the large house water tank on the roof. I knew the water in the tank was enough to last me alone for at least a week. The house had 3 bathrooms so I had 2 extra flushes when I go to the toilet which I go only if I really needed to go (instead of a regular twice a day routine).

For shower, I still stick to having shower twice a day – I could not go to work or to bed without a good shower. I get restless and feel dirty if I don’t take shower. But I had to be careful not to waste water so I  get wet enough to apply the soap and then get wet enough to wash away the soap completely.

Drinking water was not an issue as I bought two large drinking water bottles (9.5 litres each) on Saturday itself which todate remains unopened. I had two pots of water which we had boiled for drinking – I had only used half pot of water in the last 5 days. If we had prior notice (which we did not), we could have filled up the 2 huge containers at home.

Due to these drastic measures, there was enough water for me during the water disruption and I did not had to wait for the SYABAS tanker truck to replenish water at home.

Anyway, let’s go back to the key topic at hand – the act of sabotage.

I told in my previous post that we need to treat deliberate water pollution as an act of terrorism and as a critical threat to national security. We need to be serious in nabbing these terrorists and send them away to the firing squad. After all, if we can come down hard on the so-called LTTE supporters, then why the kind & soft approach to polluters? Yes, the very same polluters who effectively had poisoned the water that millions of consumers who needs it for daily use including drinking.

In fact, it is the same sentiment that YB Charles Santiago shares:-

The chairman of the National Water Services Commission, Charles Santiago, has called out sabotage in what he described as deliberate action to dump toxic waste into Selangor’s water supply system.
Santiago said more than 50 cubic metres of waste were poured into the sewerage system, causing the closure of the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant.

“This is deliberate. It is not a one-off (incident), this was deliberate. It means somebody is organising it and that is why I’m saying the issue of sabotage comes into play,” Santiago said in Cyberjaya today, according to Malay Mail.

He said the polluters had brought misery to the people of Selangor, and “untold millions” in losses suffered by businesses and the state. “It is unacceptable,” he said.

Bernama quoted Santiago as saying that allegations of the possibility of elements of sabotage coming into play had cropped up as such incidents had occurred three times in Selangor, where two cases involved the same location.

(Source)

How much is a 50 cubic metres of waste would look like? This video gives some perspective of the size of waste dumped into the IWK manhole.

Incidentally, the same act of sabotage was echoed back in July but after police investigations, sabotage was downgraded to negligence:-

Police have ruled out sabotage behind the recent contamination of Sungai Selangor, which had caused major water disruptions in the Klang Valley. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said the incident could instead be an act of negligence.

“Initially, we thought it could be the act of sabotage by individuals.

“However, after we detained two suspects as part of our investigations, certain facts revealed that it was not due to sabotage but negligence. We are also looking into the aspect of false police reports lodged trying to cover the interest of certain company”

(Source)

So what happened to this investigation and have the culprits (irrespective of negligence or sabotage) have been punished? Have the name of the company who some tried to cover been made known? Have the culprits have been sued for damages to consumers & businesses resulting from water disruption?

The police needs to expedite the investigations into the recent water disruption and if is a sabotage (or negligence which is unlikely) and they need to stop this before it happens again. Based on the modus operandi of the pollution, YB Santiago says “somebody is organising it”, if so it also means someone is holding the consumers for a ransom and for their devious motives.

Think about it – it seems to be an effective way to make people angry of their government. Dump some waste into a place where it is close to the water treatment plant or to the water source where the water treatment plant is getting it’s water, get the water treatment plant shuts down for clean up and getting the water cleaned again for the consumers and millions of household left with dry taps. 5 days without water is enough to make some people to go mad.

If you checked the various social media over the last few days – Facebook, Twitter and the various private messages – generally 99% of the angry comments was directed against the State Government and the people behind the water management. Many even calling for a change of government.

A very few however appreciated the water disruption crisis management and understood mounting tasks, stress and pressure that the State Government, the water authorities were facing. Credit must be given to the State Government, the water authorities for managing the crisis well in the shortest time possible although the periodic updates via apps and twitter needs to be more frequent with some checkpoints.

Lesson learned from the previous incident, this time, the water authorities waited longer to ensure that even the bad odour is reduced to zero TON (a major complaint from many consumers last time around).

If this water disruption is indeed due to sabotage and someone is “organising it”, then the State Government, the water authorities and the enforcement agencies (local authorities, police, village security committee, etc) need to step up their act and be always one step ahead. They need to be more vigilant and ensure enforcement is not lacking and the punishment is not soft on those who are caught. In fact, it is time for the laws in relation to pollution to be increased many folds to deter anyone from even considering dumping illegally. They must be treated as terrorist and threat to national security.

As consumers, we need to look at managing our water supply more effectively and do some level of prepping in case another water disruption happens. I have a bad feeling that we may see another disruption happening around Chinese New Year in January 2020 – if indeed it is an organised sabotage.

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