Rush For Bottled Water In Penang As Taps Dry Up After Kedah Floods
A woman walks past empty shelves, previously stacked with bottled water, at Lotus’s Jelutong, Penang. (JohnShen Lee pic)GEORGE TOWN: Residents in Penang are storing water and rushing to buy bottled water at supermarkets in anticipation of a possible supply disruption that could last until noon tomorrow after water treatment plants were forced to shut down following the floods in Baling, Kedah.
Checks by FMT found that large parts of the island and Seberang Perai have reported dry taps. Sukhindarpal Singh, a Bayan Baru resident, said there was no water supply since noon.
“What low pressure? There is no water at all. And the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) 24-hour hotline is not responding,” the lawyer told FMT.
PBAPP had said water pressure would be low as a water treatment plant was shuttered for four hours to allow muddy water to clear up. It expects normal water supply to resume by noon tomorrow.
A photo circulating on WhatsApp, allegedly showing the muddy water at one of the main water intake points in Penang.Rashid Ali, 46, of Gelugor, also had no water supply. A worker at an electronics factory in Perai said there was no water to even wash their hands.
Tutor Joshua Johnson, 29, said only the three upper floors of his Taman Sri Petani apartment block in Sungai Pinang were getting water supply, while J Kishen Kumar, 29, of Taman Kota Permai, Bukit Mertajam, said his family was running out of water that they had saved.
Some Penangites have resorted to panic buying of bottled water at supermarkets.At the supermarkets, shelves were empty as people rushed to get bottled water. Mydin’s Penang Road branch manager Emirol Ashraf said all mineral water stock was “cleared” by 1.30pm.
Mydin’s branch in Bukit Mertajam is also facing a similar situation with bottled water going fast as at 5.30pm.
A video recorded by an FMT reader showed people rushing to load bottles of mineral water into their trolleys at AEON Queensbay.
No water for old people
In Sungai Petani, Kedah, some 40-odd residents at two aged care homes had to cope with the sudden disruption in water supply.
Residents at the Loving Care Nursing Home in Jalan Tiong and the D’Zenith Home, which has inmates as old as 98, received a rude shock at 6.30am this morning as they were having their shower.
A worker helping to fill up pails outside an aged care facility at Sungai Petani, Kedah.“Luckily, we started early, after showering eight people, the water reduced to a trickle. There were two more people that needed to be bathed but we managed.
“We started saving water to clean up the residents when necessary. At about 3pm, our taps started spewing teh tarik-coloured water.
“No one told us there will be no water. Our concern is those who are bedridden, as we need to wipe them down often to prevent bed sores,” the centres’ operator Delren Douglas told FMT.
Delren Douglas.Delren said he had called Syarikat Air Darul Aman (SADA), the Kedah state water company, at about 8.30am to fill up 40 empty pails at both homes. He said a water tanker had come at about 5pm.
Sungai Petani Hospital also reported a water cut but a state health official said a water tanker had topped up their tanks and supply had returned to normal.
Late last night, Kedah shuttered three of its main water treatment plants along its side of Sungai Muda, affecting 201,000 account holders in the Kulim Hi-Tech area and Sungai Petani.
Chief minister Chow Kon Yeow told reporters that, in light of the flooding in Baling, Kedah, Penang would be sending a humanitarian mission consisting of officials from the Penang and Seberang Perai city councils.
He said council lorries, water tankers, garbage trucks, handheld saws and other clean-up tools would be sent together with 20 workers.
As for the low water supply issue in Penang, Chow said PBAPP had activated the Mengkuang dam to supply water to affected areas.
In a statement, SADA said about 280,000 accounts holders would be affected by water supply interruptions as a result of shutting down five water treatment plants due to the turbid waters. - FMT
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