The Kedah government will implement a riverside water catchment project that will be able to stabilise Sungai Muda’s water level in times of drought.
Known as Takungan Air Pinggiran Sungai (TAPS), the project will ensure Kedah has enough water supply to see through the dry season, Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said.
He said new barrages will also be built to stabilise the river water level to ensure water concessionaire Syarikat Air Darul Aman Sdn Bhd’s pumps would not be rendered inoperable when water levels drop.
“In the past, when flood mitigation projects were carried out, the river was widened further.
“This caused the water level to drop, but there was no realigning done to the pump houses along Sungai Muda which left them idle during droughts,” he told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting at Wisma Darul Aman here today.
He said once Sungai Muda’s water level is stabilised, water flow capacity can be controlled in the future.
He said TAPS will kick off sometime this year and the state government has identified several suitable contractors for the project.
“Allocation for this project is from the Environment and Water Ministry (KASA) as it deals with raw water, so there is a grant. This project is not only beneficial for treated water in the state but since Kedah supplies 42 per cent of padi for the country, so this is for agriculture as well.
Meanwhile, on his recent statement that Penang may find itself using muddy water if the Penang (state government) continues to refuse to pay raw water charges for drawing water from Sungai Muda, Muhammad Sanusi said it should not be interpreted as a threat.
“I was just informing them (Penang) to be prepared as we are implementing the TAPS project. When Sungai Muda has a lot of water, we store, and there will be 14 TAPS throughout, so its a very large catchment, with depths up to 20 to 30 metres and up to a kilometre wide.
“So, Penang has to be ready for this, unless they work together with us (Kedah government)… We have to plan (earlier) to avoid them drinking muddy water. If we fail to work together and (they) do not pay raw water charges, then we will plan just for ourselves,” he said.
He said Kedah had never closed its doors on Penang for negotiations over the (water supply) issue, and will always welcome discussions to set the rate for raw water charges.
“We have not even shut the doors for discussions. we are more than happy to discuss the (raw water) charges. We want to supply raw water, but consider paying a little as we have maintenance costs to take care of at the catchment areas,” he said.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency