Water is the utmost important component of life - from the essential drinking water to personal hygiene, down to daily chores. Without water, life could not go on. Recently, residents of many areas within the Klang Valley saw their day-to-day lives being affected by major water supply disruptions which lasted for almost a week.
As reported by The New Straits Times, the water disruption was caused by odour contamination of Sungai Semenyih by a company operating illegally near the waterway, which supplies water to the Sungai Semenyih Dam.
The company has since been closed and its land confiscated by the authorities.
Preparation is Key
The sudden disruption had affected thousands of households, with many being unprepared to face the week-long encumbrance. Preparation is key to coping and ensuring that daily life can go on.
With this ultimate guide to dealing with water supply disruptions, you can be sure to know what to do whenever water supply disruptions occur in the future
1. Keeping Informed
In order to secure an ample supply of water during water supply disruption periods, it is best to firstly, be properly informed about scheduled water supply disruptions that may be affecting your area.
With the convenience of the internet, you can just go to the official websites of water supply companies and take a quick glance at their water supply disruption schedules or even keep connected via social network.
(Scroll to the end for a detailed list of water supply companies in Malaysia, along with their websites and contact information.)
2. Preparing for the Disruption
The next thing to do (should you find out that your area will be affected by water supply disruptions) is to save as much water as you can.
Here are some tips to help you store ample water prior to the scheduled water supply disruption:
(i) Investing in Large Storage Containers/Pails
90-litre pails are a worthwhile investment in preparing for water supply disruptions. You can get these at your local hardware shops. They usually cost anywhere between RM60 to RM100, depending on its quality. Online prices can go as low as RM25 each, if you buy in a bulk of about 50 pieces.
Extra tip: Share this tip and buy in bulk with neighbours or relatives to better prepare for water supply disruptions together!
(ii) Place Large Storage Containers/Pails In Strategic Locations
The best makeshift solution to water supply disruptions is to place large pails and containers in every bathroom or toilet in your home. There should also be one in your kitchen, and one outside, within the compounds of your home (in case there is a need to water plants or provide water for pets).
Extra tip: Careful with the weight! Fill the containers at their designated locations (if possible) as they may be too heavy to lift when filled. A 90-litre container filled to the brim can weigh more than 90kg!
(iii) Alternative Storage
Fill up as much water as you can, from the usual pails, to pots, bowls and woks, or anything else large enough, can also be used to store water.
Extra tip: Top loading washing machines are a great alternative to storing water. They can easily contain anywhere between 70 to 90 litres of water!
3. Facing Unexpected Disruptions
Should water supply disruptions occur unexpectedly, like in the recent case of those living in the Klang Valley, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get through.
(i) Have A Friend, Get Water
Inform and ask permission from friends or relatives living nearest to you (who is not affected by the water supply disruption) to get water from them.
Extra tips: Borrow larger vehicles (eg: SUVs/MPVs) to be able to transport larger capacity containers.
Use containers/pails with covers.
Place filled water containers/pails on flat surfaces within the vehicle (eg: floor/boot).
Drive, brake and accelerate slowly and carefully to avoid spillage.
(ii) Collect Rainwater
Though rainfall may be uncertain, it would be best to be have pails ready to collect rainwater for washing purposes during times when water is scarce. Instead of just leaving the pail out in the open, a string, rope or chain can be used to collect more rain water in your makeshift rainwater collection system.
Extra tip: Dangle strings, ropes or chains where water would flow down. Combine several strings, rope or chains for maximum water collection!
4. Allocating Water Usage Wisely
(i) Prepare (at least) 2 Litres of Drinking Water Daily
Drinking water is essential for sustaining life. If you have the budget, head on over to your nearest hypermarket and stock up on enough drinking water. Bottled water come in different sizes, with the largest being 9.5-litre, which may be enough to last a week for 1 person.
Boiling water is also a good way to prepare clean drinking water for those who do not have the budget to buy huge amounts of bottled water.
Extra Tip: Be sure to gauge the amount of water that you and each individual family member needs to drink (if possible) based on how long the water supply disruption will last (as according to any known schedule).
(ii) Use Just Enough Water for Showers
With the hot and humid weather, showers are a daily necessity. But when it comes to times of water disruption, there should be a way to make the best out of what water supply there is.
Here is a breakdown of how much water you should use when showering during water supply disruption periods:
- Head: 6 litres of water.
- Arms & Torso: 7 litres of water.
- Lower Abdomen & Legs: 7 litres of water
Extra tip: Use a gardening spray pump to shower for maximum saving! The pump creates a fine and refreshing mist with just a few easy pumps.
(iii) Flushing Feats
Flushing will have to take a little more effort when water is scarce. To avoid using too much water, a pail and scoop is the better way to flush. For rationing purposes, it is recommended that you use between 1 litre to 5 litres of water to flush, depending on how much is needed.
Extra tip: The larger the scoop, the better. You can also use the pail to flush when necessary. Pour quickly and in the middle of the bowl to generate more flushing momentum.
(iv) Refrain From Cooking
It is never a good idea to cook at home during water supply disruptions. Minimize cooking (including instant noodles), and eat out instead to save water. However, if you must, use no more than 5 litres of water for both cooking and washing any pots, pans, plates and utensils.
5. Water Tanks- A Long Term Solution to Ensuring Ample Water Storage During Water Supply Disruptions
Though these tips may be helpful in coping with water supply disruptions, a better way to beat it is by installing additional water storage tanks or changing to one which has larger capacity. That way, you will still have water supply through taps and pipes within your home.
So where do you begin?
(i) Know their types and how it works
Water tanks come in various sizes and materials, such as PE (plastic) or stainless steel. There are also a variety of home water storage and supply systems which may contain different tanks for different needs (as in diagram below). Hence, it would be best to first understand and determine which would be best suited for your home.
(ii) Ensure that water storage and supply systems come with a pump
A water pump does wonders whenever water supply is restored after a disruption, as it quickly pumps the water from the main pipeline into your water storage tank.
Without it, there may be complications such as having to call a plumber to ‘bleed-out-air’ that is accumulated within your water plumbing system.
When air is trapped within your water plumbing system, the water supply may not be able to flow into certain areas of your home.
(iii) Pick the right pump
Depending on your budget, water pumps come in various strengths, typically from 0.5 bhp (horsepower) to 1.5 bhp.
A small terrace house may only require 0.5 bhp, where having too much horsepower in a water pump may damage your water plumbing system. An adjustable water pump would be ideal for a situation like this.
It is best to seek a plumber’s advice on the right type of water pump to be installed, customising to the requirements of your home.
On another note, you may also need to know that some water pumps run more silently than others. Silent water pumps are costlier, but could also last longer while cheaper water pumps may be as loud as a lorry when in use.
Extra tip: Consider installing a water pump switch. That way, you only need to switch on the water pump whenever you need to use it to avoid overworking the pump and overcapacity of your pipes.
(iv) Consult and Hire the Necessary Experts and Contractors before Installing
When choosing the right water tank or system, you should hire a contractor who will know what sizes, types or piping system are feasible for your home. They can also let you know of any small modifications/renovations needed in order to fit your new water storage tank.
Extra tip: Sourcing for contractors is made easier than ever with websites like kaodim.com!
Simple Preparation and Patient Effort
In simple terms, the best way to face water supply disruptions is to know when they will happen (if you can), prepare for it and follow the simple tips given in this guideline. It is also best to stay calm and remember to find a water source and transport as well as store water appropriately when water supply disruptions occur unexpectedly. With these simple guidelines, you can be sure to face water supply disruptions with a clearer mind and well-thought out plans.
List of Water Supply Companies in Malaysia
Following is a list of water supply companies in Malaysia, along with their websites and contact information for your convenience:
Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SYABAS)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.syabas.com.my/disruption
Telephone Hotline: 1-800-88-5252
Twitter: @puspel (PUSPEL SYABAS)
Facebook (unofficial): https://www.facebook.com/Puspel-Syabas-182651128456428/
Syarikat Air Negeri Sembilan Sdn Bhd (SAINS)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.sainswater.com/index.php/ms-MY/jadual-penutupan-2016
Contact Number: 06-6033500
Penang Water Supply Corporation (Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang, PBAPP)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://pba.com.my/?page_id=1942
Air Kelantan Sdn. Bhd.
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://airkelantan.com.my/berita-aksb/pengumuman-gangguan-bekalan-air/
Hotline (PINTAS): 1-300-88-2572
Twitter: @airkelantan (Air Kelantan)
Pengurusan Air Pahang Berhad (PAIP)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.paip.com.my
Syarikat Air Darul Aman Sdn Bhd (SADA)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.sada.com.my/sada/index.php
Sabah State Water Department
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.sabah.gov.my/air/?q=announcement/disconnection-schedule
Hotline (JANS CARELINE): 13777
Office Contact: 088-232-364
LAKU Management Sdn Bhd (LAKU)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.lakumanagement.com.my
Hotlines: 085-426626 / 436626 (Miri), 086-318160 (Bintulu,Samalaju), 085-215633 / 215644 / 211601 (Limbang)
Kuching Water Board (Lembaga Air Kuching)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.kwb.gov.my
Twitter: @kwb_lak (Kuching Water Board)
Sibu Water Board (Lembaga Air Sibu)
Water Supply Disruption Info: http://www.swb.gov.my
Hotline: 084-216-311, 013-818-6311
Twitter: @SibuWaterBoard (Sibu Water Board)
Sarawak Rural Water Supply Department (Jabatan Bekalan Air Luar Bandar Sarawak, JBALB)
Hotline (TALIKHIDMAT): 555-999
Office Contact: 082-263-000