Press Statement

23rd April 2017

by Dato’ Ir. Jaseni Maidinsa,
Chief Executive Officer, PBA Holdings Bhd (PBAHB)
and Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP)



  • PBAPP seeks support from all Penangites to use 10% less water at home in 2017.
  • Target : reduction of water consumption from 827 MLD in 2016 to 778 MLD in 2017.


PENANG, Sunday, 23/4/2017: The people of Penang must reduce their domestic water consumption by 10% in 2017 to ensure water supply sufficiency until 2020.

In 2016, the per capita domestic consumption in Penang was 286 litres/capita/day (l/c/d). Although there was a drop of 5 l/c/d as compared to 291 l/c/d for 2015, Penang’s per capita domestic consumption was still the highest in Malaysia in 2016.

286 l/c/d is 36.8% higher than the national average of 209 l/c/d. It is 93.2% higher than Singapore’s average of 148 l/c/d.

Last year, total water consumption in Penang amounted to 827 million litres per day (MLD). In 2006, it was 684 MLD. As such, in the past 10 years, our water consumption has increased by about 21%.

It should be noted that domestic consumption in Penang accounted for 59.4% of the total water consumption in 2016.

In other words, domestic consumers used more water than all the industries, hotels and commercial enterprises that operate in Penang. As such, a reduction in domestic consumption will have a large impact on water conservation in Penang.


Save 28.6 litres per person per day to save 49.2 million litres per day

Based on the 286 l/c/d statistic for 2016, a 10% reduction would amount to 28.6 litres per person per day. This would reduce per capita consumption to about 257 l/c/d.

The total reduction by 1.72 million people would amount to 49.2 MLD. If we subtract 49.2 MLD from our 2016 water consumption of 827 MLD, the result will be about 778 MLD.

Based on a 2.1% per year average consumption growth rate, Penang should consume 794 MLD in 2017, 811 MLD in 2018, 828 MLD in 2019 and 845 MLD in 2020.


High dependency on only 1 raw water resource

The most compelling reason to save water at home is Penang’s high dependency on only 1 raw water resource: Sungai Muda. Sungai Muda can only meet Penang’s water demand until 2020 based on our current trend of high water consumption.

More than 80% of Penang’s raw water is abstracted from this river daily. Insofar as Sungai Muda is concerned, please note the following factors:

  1. It is a raw water resource Penang shares with Kedah.
  2. PBAPP abstracts raw water downstream of 14 SADA water treatment plants and JPS irrigation intakes in Kedah.
  3. Kedah continues to license logging activities in the Ulu Muda despite outcry from NGOs and various newspaper exposés. Ulu Muda is water catchment for Sungai Muda, as well as for the Muda Dam, the Pedu Dam and Ahning Dam. Logging threatens water supply for 4.05 million people in Perlis, Kedah and Penang.
  4. In 2016, the levels of the Beris Dam and the Muda Dam in Kedah fell below critical levels during the Super El Niño season. These dams were built to release water into Sungai Muda during dry seasons. Rapid depletion of these dams’ raw water reserves in 2016 almost caused a water crisis in South Kedah and Penang. This year, there was no dry season. However, the level of the Muda Dam dropped from 60.3% on 1st January 2017 to 34.5% on 17 th April 2017.
  5. Climate change has changed weather and rainfall patterns. We do not know when the next extended dry season will come. We do not know how severe it will be.


RM91 million in domestic water subsidies

Penang’s average domestic water tariff for the first 35,000 litres per month is only RM0.32 per 1,000 litres. This is the lowest average domestic water tariff in Malaysia. The national average in Malaysia is RM0.70 per 1,000 litres, or 118% higher.

It cost PBAPP RM91 million in subsidies to sustain this people-friendly domestic tariff. Since PBAPP re-invests most of its operational profits in Penang every year, this RM91 million could have been allocated for water supply infrastructure projects to secure Penang’s future water supply.


Water Saving Devices (WSDs)

The easiest and most convenient way for consumers to “automatically” save water is to install water saving devices, or WSDs, in their homes. WSDs are taps, shower heads, faucets, toilet flush systems, washing machines and dishwashers with special fittings that reduce water consumption.

PBAPP is asking for the Penang State Government to amend building bylaws to require mandatory installation of WSDs in all new development projects.


Thank You.

Dato’ Ir. Jaseni Maidinsa,
Chief Executive Officer,
PBA Holdings Bhd (PBAHB) and
Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP).