Johor has once again reiterated its previous calls of not relying on Singapore anymore for treated water.
Malaysia's Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said on Monday, Aug. 19 that Johor is expected to not depend on Singapore for treated water by 2022,
Xavier's comments were reported by Malaysia media, Bernama.
“We have to make sure that Johor has sufficient treated water and does not need to get it from Singapore -- which is why we have to provide new water treatment plants in Johor," Xavier told reporters after meeting Johor Chief Minister Sahruddin Jamal in Putrajaya.
“The capacity must reach 260 million litres a day. We already have an understanding that by the year 2022, we will have this capacity.”
It was Sahruddin’s first visit to the ministry after being appointed chief minister in April 2019.
Asked if the effort will impact the Water Agreement talks between Malaysia and Singapore, Xavier said there will be no effect and the agreement still stands.
Same comments as previously
Previously in March 2018, the former Johor Chief Minister Osman Sapian said the state will stop buying treated water from Singapore but did not give details:
Some three weeks after the first comment, he said the plan was for the southern state to build new water treatment plants in three to four years.
This is to reduce reliance on buying treated water from Singapore and to better manage its resources.
Osman resigned as Johor Chief Minister on April 9.
Johor's water problems
Separately, Xavier said his ministry has agreed with the Johor state government on steps to tackle river pollution through more efficient management of sewage waste.
This comes after Johor has been hit by a series of environmental problems causing thousands of residents to fall ill or have their water supply disrupted after its rivers and water treatment facilities were affected.
Some rivers, including the Johor River, have been polluted by chemicals.
Water levels at major dams have fallen below the critical mark due to dry weather.
One expert recently said chemicals released into the water bodies in Malaysia are turning fish "gay".
The 1962 Water Agreement expires in 2061.
It entitles Singapore to draw up to 250 million gallons a day (mgd) of water from the Johor River.
Singapore pays 3 sen per thousand gallons of raw water and sells treated water back to Johor at 50 sen per thousand gallons, a fraction of the cost of treating the water.
Johor is entitled to a daily supply of treated water of up to 2 percent or 5 mgd of the water supplied to Singapore.
Singapore has been supplying a higher amount of 16 mgd of treated water to Johor at its request in practice.