Deputy Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MAFI) minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah said any issue with water supply not only affected the people but the agriculture sector as well. - NSTP/MIKAIL ON
GEORGE TOWN: The Federal government hopes Penang, Kedah and Perak state governments will find the best solution to the raw water issue involving the three states.
Deputy Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MAFI) minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah said any issue with water supply not only affected the people but the agriculture sector as well.
"Matters concerning land and water come under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments and we (the federal government) hope there will be an understanding between the three states.
"We (MAFI) and the Federal government welcome mutual understanding among all parties to address the issue at hand for the benefit of all," he told newsmen here today.
He was met after the opening of the 24th Malaysian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage Conference (MANCO 24th).
He was asked on the risk to the agriculture sector in Penang after efforts by the state to source for raw water supply from Perak under the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS) project hit a snag.
Elaborating, Ahmad hoped that any solution to the issue would be a concrete and meaningful one.
On March 1, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow led a delegation to meet with Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad in Perak to resume talks on Phase 1 of the SPRWTS project.
A day later, Saarani had reportedly said that the state could not supply raw water to Penang due to insufficient supply to meet the state's own needs.
It was reported that SPRWTS, which is part of Penang Water Supply Initiative 2050 (PWSI 2050) to mitigate Penang's raw water risks until 2030, was proposed following an independent masterplan study commissioned by the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) in 2009.
According to PBAPP, Sungai Perak was the best option as its raw water resource is presently underutilised.
As such, the Penang government and PBAPP had sought to tap Sungai Perak as the second or alternative raw water resource for the state since 2011.
SPRWTS involves the construction of a water tunnel to channel raw water from Sungai Perak upstream to Sungai Ijok, which would flow to Sungai Kerian.
The raw water would then be extracted from Sungai Kerian, where a water treatment plant would be built on the Penang side of the border.
At the same time, Penang is also facing pressure from Kedah, which has been demanding for RM50 million annual payment for the raw water supplied to PBAPP.
Chow had said before this that Penang would not pay a single sen to Kedah for raw water drawn from its side of Sungai Muda.
By Audrey Dermawan - March 22, 2022 @ 3:02pm