A new centralised law is being drawn out to regulate all 104 dams nationwide for their safety and maintenance. - NSTP file pic

GEORGE TOWN: A new centralised law is being drawn out to regulate all 104 dams nationwide for their safety and maintenance.

This is in view of an absence of a centralised regulatory system on the matter.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said once the law is in place, owners of all dams would have to report to the Federal government on any activities at the dams to ensure their safety.

He said there was no reason for all states government to object to the new law.

“We are currently engaging in talks with various quarters on the matter. It is a long process. We hope to get the framework up and about by the end of next year,” he said after the launch of the International Conference on Dam Safety Management and Engineering (ICDSME) 2019 here today.

Xavier said there were enough examples from other countries as a starting point for their discussions.

“India has such a law and we will look into the country’s legislation to see whether it is applicable here.

“We may have to fine tune the legislation to suit us,” he added.

Earlier in his speech, Xavier said before 2018, the safety management practice by dam operators in the country was largely through self-regulation.

He called upon dam operators and owners to keep abreast of the latest cutting edge technologies and innovations.

“With the establishment of the new Dam Safety Flying Squad since 2017, all those involved in dam design, construction and maintenance, including academia, are welcome to collaborate and lend their expertise in doing dam safety inspection, research and development on dam related issues, for the mutual benefit of all parties.

“We are currently engaging in talks with various quarters on the matter. It is a long process. We hope to get the framework up and about by the end of next year,” Datuk Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said after the launch of the International Conference on Dam Safety Management and Engineering (ICDSME) 2019 here today. - NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

“By having this Flying Squad, dam safety auditing has been carried out to ensure those dam owners take appropriate measures so that dams do not endanger life and public property, the dam and catchment areas have not trespassed and pollution in dam areas can be prevented,” he added.

In a separate development, Xavier said the Federal government is committed in ensuring the success of the raw water transfer from Perak to Penang.

He said while states may have their own initiatives to address water-stress problems, states should also work together with one another and the federal authority to come out with a win-win situation for all.

“We are looking to implement the water transfer under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

“There should be a compromise between all concerned to ensure its success,” he added.

It was reported that the Penang government and the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) were seeking to commission the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS) by 2025, to tap a second major raw water resource for Penang.

Sungai Perak is relatively an under-utilised Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) raw water resource, and the SPRWTS has the potential to ensure water supply sustainability in Perak and Penang until 2050.

The original specified timeline for the implementation of the SPRWTS is 2025, six years away.

Since 1973, Sungai Muda has served as the primary raw water resource for Penang and Kedah. Today, more than 80 per cent of Penang’s raw water is extracted from the river.

Sungai Muda may only be able to meet both states’ raw water needs until 2025.

The Penang-Perak water issue has been a long-standing matter between the states, with Perak insisting on selling treated water, and Penang wanting raw water instead.