As noted in the “Masterplan Study for Potable Water Supply in Penang until 2050”, Sungai Muda may reliably meet Penang and Kedah’s raw water needs only until 2025.
As such, Penang urgently needs the SPRWTS to be commissioned by 2025 to mitigate the risks of a raw water crisis. Accordingly, the 14.8km raw water tunnel and Phase 1 of the Sungai Kerian Water Treatment Plant must be operational by 2025.
The SPRWTS will be implemented in 4 phases, with each phase delivering 250MLD of raw water for Penang. The key reasons for phasing the implementation are as follows:
- Rational development timeline: The commissioning of each phase is timed specifically to address projected growth in Penang’s raw water demand. This measure will avoid wastage of water and funds.
- Dilution of development costs: Capital investments will be spread out over a 30-year period. This arrangement will help to moderate water tariffs over a 30-year period.
- Raw water guarantee: The precise volume of raw water required by Penang at each phase is clearly specified: 250 MLD by 2025, 500MLD by 2030, 750 MLD by 2040 and 1,000 MLD by 2050. This raw water guarantee is critical for long-term water supply planning and will prevent misunderstandings and disputes.
- Risk management: Under the SPRWTS, PBAPP and LAP will abstract and treat raw water independently in Penang and Perak. As such, it minimises the risk of one water treatment issue causing water supply crises in two states at the same time.
- Operational integrity: PBAPP is the licensed water operator that serves Penang while LAP is the licensed operator that serves Perak. The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) reviews and audits PBAPP and LAP’s performances separately, in accordance to various criteria, including supply coverage, unscheduled water supply interruptions, water treatment reserve margins, customer service, water tariffs and financial performance.
- Since the SPRWTS is a raw water transfer project, it allows PBAPP and LAP to independently manage treated water production and distribution operations. PBAPP and LAP are free to prioritise, schedule and implement specific initiatives to optimise the positive impact of the SPRWTS in each state, without compromise.