Image source: 123rf (pushishdonhongsa)

Penang recently experienced disruptions in its water supply due to an unexpected incident along Sg Muda. Several regions on the island and the mainland encountered low water pressure. At the same time, some areas suffered no water supply for four consecutive days starting from May 14. The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) reported a significant decrease in water levels at PBAPP’s Lahar Tiang Intake inlet along Sg Muda, which adversely affecting the production of treated water at the Sg Dua water treatment plant.[1]

In response to this crisis, PBAPP has initiated an emergency measure by drawing water from the Expanded Mengkuang Dam. However, the quantity of water being extracted from the dam is insufficient to compensate for the shortfall caused by Sg Muda. PBAPP stated that the Sg Dua plant could not generate treated water at its usual capacity of approximately 1,000 million litres per day (MLD) to meet the demand in Seberang Prai and various areas on Penang Island. The corporation is currently facing challenges in maintaining the required water supply to fulfill the needs of affected residents.

The situation highlights the urgency of addressing the water supply issue in Penang, as the existing measures implemented thus far have proven inadequate to cope with such disruptions. Efforts are being made to overcome the obstacles and restore normal water supply to the affected regions as swiftly as possible.

In fact, the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) is committed to investing RM1.185bil to implement water supply projects in the next five years, aiming to enhance the reliability and efficiency of water services.

As part of these efforts, PBAPP has commenced the construction of a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) water treatment plant at the Bukit Panchor Water Treatment Plant premises, which anticipates to alleviating water issues in South Seberang Perai (SBS).[2] The project, began in December 2022, is scheduled to be completed by August this year.

According to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, the newly constructed DAF plant, valued at RM20 million, will have a maximum design capacity of 10 million litres per day (MLD). By incorporating this new plant, the water supply can cater to approximately 4,000 consumer accounts and improve water pressure in specific areas of SPS.

Chow, who also serves as the PBAPP chairman, explained that the projects comprise eight main components, including three new additions, all of which outlines in the PBAPP 2030 Water Contingency Plan, commonly known as WCP 2030. These initiatives demonstrate how the Penang government prioritises socioeconomic recovery post-pandemic to achieve the objectives outlined in the Penang2030 Vision.


[1] McIntyre, I. Penang to face water disruptions until Wednesday.

[2] Tan, C.(2023).  Improving water supply services in SPS. Bulletin Mutiara, May 1-15