Protecting public health, water resources and environment are primary objectives of sanitation and sewerage services. Resource recovery including harnessing of renewable energy shall be considered through the whole chain from sewage generation down to byproducts of sewage treatment to minimize pollution and reduce carbon footprint to maintain ecological balance as well as to maximize economic benefits. Resource recovery when structured in line with the needs of sewerage infrastructure development will be advantageous for the public, community, and operators. However, public must be educated and made aware of the safe usage of resources recovered from waste. Otherwise, the take up rate for many initiatives will be extremely low and the opportunities to venture into businesses will be halted. There are many barriers that need to be overcome for these outcomes to be realized as beneficial. One of the prominent barrier is provision in the legislative which is currently being addresses through the proposed amendment to the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655).
With 27 years of experience, IWK is changing the way Malaysians think about wastewater management – from linear approach to circular economy. This paradigm shift in wastewater management is very important in transforming our perspective on wastewater management from a linear ‘use and dispose’ model to a more sustainable circular model, while attaching added values to the resources in wastewater treatment.
The technological advancement that IWK uses in the treatment of wastewater should bolster confidence among Malaysians as it is at par with other developed countries. Water Reclamation projects is way forward in creating 2nd tap for industrial use in Malaysia. The high quality standard of treated effluent can be reused as an alternative water source (2nd tap) and IWK has high potential to produce non-potable water. IWK is putting great emphasis and focus on Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) projects, as the outcome from the treatment plants can be reused for non-potable use.
The impact of climate change is increasingly important for the design, construction, and maintenance of water sector infrastructure. Average global temperatures are on the rise, causing cycles of extreme weather: droughts and flooding are becoming common; seawater level are rising; and many locations are considerably drier, impacting water sources such as lakes and rivers. Water supply system must meet the demands of expanding industry needs and rapid population growth. Pollution adds to the growing threats to water resources, increasing treatment requirements for providing safe water to consumer. Malaysia is also no exception that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Water Operator are facing an increasing need to improve the management of water resources and associated infrastructure. Diversifying sources of water supply will become increasingly important whether through the construction of new storage facilities, the appropriate and sustainable extraction of groundwater, water trading or conservation, or the use of recycled or desalinated water. Ranhill SAJ Sdn Bhd, a water utility company that manage and distribute water supply in the State of Johor with 1.3 million registered customers faces challenges in its daily operation with the need to upgrade the existing water supply infrastructure and with several other constraints. Planning for the adaptation of resilient water infrastructure to climate change in Johor has been implemented since 2000 through the Business Plan approved by SPAN where some CAPEX projects have been completed and others are still being implemented. In the Business Plan for the Fifth Operational Period (OP5), Ranhill SAJ will implement 50 no. of water supply projects that take into account the needs of climate-resilient water infrastructure estimated at RM 397.8 million and RM935 million for the pipe replacement program. These projects are expected to be completed by 2026. In addition, there are also other projects for water resource infrastructure that will implement under the Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA) to meet the needs of raw water by 2026 and beyond. Ranhill SAJ is also committed to conducting studies on daily operational data and will be embarking on the route to digital transformation with the setting up of a command center enable to gather data on the state’s water supply system and be kept up to date with real-time information in order to use in making forecasts to be ready for any possible weather/climate change in managing the water distribution supply and minimize water disruption.