Where is the environment impact assessment (EIA) of Pahang Selangor water transfer project?

DPM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s special cabinet committee has decided to resolve Selangor water woes by going ahead with the Pahang Selangor water transfer project. BN government has concluded that Pahang Selangor water transfer pipes and Langat treatment plant which is supposed to be completed in 31/2 years will solve all water problems in Selangor.  The double track pipes to bring water from Pahang to Selangor will cost about RM12 billion. The government announced that tender for the project will be called very soon.

Water from Pahang to Selangor has to be brought through pipes over a distance of about 50 kilometers running through forest disturbing fauna and flora habitats along the way. The federal government must be transparent and inform the Klang valley residents whether a thorough environmental impact study has been done? Are consumers, conservation and environmental experts, NGOs and affected groups like Orang Asli settlers informed on the ecological and environmental issues? DPM should not be hasty in calling for tender before the environmental impact study is done. There is no turning back after spending 12 billion.

WWF has in strong terms criticized and exposed the superficial and incomplete study of the department of public works. WWF have categorical stated that the environmental impact assessment by the department of public works is poor and that this assessment cannot be used at all. WWF has highlighted that JKR report has taken a cursory view of environmental impact assessment of this Pahang Selangor water transfer project. Some of the following issues need more in depth study before this project is undertaken.

  1. Protection of water catchment areas and pollution related issues
  2. Water quality along river downstream and upstream and any land based source of pollution e.g. Chemical and industrial discharge farming and industries.
  3. Impact assessment on freshwater living organism and fishes, changes in river ecosystem and mitigating aquatic organisms etc.
  4. Effect on non timber forest produce. This has big impact on orang asli villagers on the path of pipes. Resettlement issues
  5. Threat to wildlife like sambar deer seladang and birds.
  6. Effect of deforestation, siltation and mitigation efforts 
  7. Impact of any ecotourism that is being promoted in catchment areas.

Therefore alternative measures must be extensively explored to ensure the optimal use of available financial resources and avoid irreversible environmental damage. Government must explore the technological improvements in water treatments and demand side management. More usable water can be produced at cheaper costs through investment in rain water harvesting, efficiency, recycling and reuse policies in place. Singapore has recycled wastewater, harvested rain water and desalinated sea water. Peninsula Malaysia is blessed with abandon rain water and hills. Water is nature’s gift and it should not be sold as a profitable product. Water management should go back to the states.

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