I HAD a good start for 2021. Water was restored after two days of a new norm of monthly disruption. Our neighbourhood experienced this silver lining about half a dozen times in 2020.It seems a pipe was damaged due to a landslide in Damansara Utama. On the same day, there was also a burst pipe in Shah Alam.A year earlier, a 3m stretch of road in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, collapsed due to a burst pipe. Major areas in the Klang Valley suffered water cuts throughout the year due to pollution in raw river water, causing treatment plants to be closed.Four years ago, I wrote an article on delayed maintenance, where maintenance was postponed till after the festive season and caused massive water disruption in the Klang Valley.I made few suggestions for the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) and the energy, green technology and water minister, and as usual nobody took heed.SPAN has to take responsibility since its vision is a sustainable, reliable and affordable water supply service for all and a mission to regulate the water services industry through fair, effective and transparent implementation of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655).Staff at Air Selangor deserve my pity because so often they are firefighting, rather than making any progress and thank you for the regular updates on progress of repairs.VIPs do not feel the pinch in situations like this because they will have water delivered to their doorsteps and even get an expensive bicycle replaced.Ordinary citizens are inconvenienced, like old folks living alone and people with disabilities, especially during this pandemic.I do hope that the budget has some provisions for upgrade and proper maintenance of water pipes and a proactive approach to identify pipes in areas that need urgent attentionMinisters and authorities, you may have your rights and privileges but access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardises the physical and social health of all humans, and is an affront to human dignity.What say you?Happy New Year to all Malaysians.* Saleh Mohammed reads The Malaysian Insight. * This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.
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