From dry taps to trickle: Penangites’ water woes not completely over

GEORGE TOWN: About 80,000 residents in the southern part of the island of Bayan Lepas and Bayan Baru are still experiencing low water pressure on Thursday (July 7) compared to dry taps the day before.

The taps in the area went dry at 2pm on Wednesday (July 6) and trickled in past midnight, with many residential areas, eateries, shopping malls, supermarkets, orphanages and old folks’ homes badly hit by the stoppage.

With Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) staff working around the clock, the water supply is expected to be fully restored by late afternoon on Thursday.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the Sungai Dua water treatment plant has achieved 50% capacity as at 6am on Thursday.

PBAPP had said on Wednesday that water pressure would be low as the water treatment plant was shuttered for four hours to allow muddy water to clear up due to the pollution from the Baling floods.

However, the taps on the southern side of the island and parts of the mainland went completely dry by 2pm.

Meanwhile, there were “dry” shelves at malls and departmental stores with mineral water supplies running out of stock and stores rushing to replenish mineral bottles.

Gama Supermarket and Departmental Store human resources manager Lim Kian Seong said more than 200 bottles of all 1.5 litres and 1.25 litres were snapped up on Wednesday.

“We did not expect such a rush and could not replenish immediately but managed to bring in new supplies on Thursday.

Lim said there wasn’t a rush to buy on Thursday with the anticipation water supply would be restored soon.

Sunshine Wholesale Mart marketing and communications manager Bryan Wong said their shelves were currently empty and arrangements were being made for replenishment from their warehouse.

“We have only limited quantities for now,” added Wong.

Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar managing director Burhan Mohamed said its outlet in Bukit Jambul has stopped dine-in since late afternoon on Wednesday went the water supply stopped.

“There is water today, but the pressure is still low and we are only doing takeaway until it is fully restored.”

Penang Hindu Association (PHA) president P. Murugiah said a few orphanages in Gelugor and Bayan Lepas have requested help as they could not prepare meals for the children.

“PHA is sending mineral bottles and lunch packs to two homes as there is totally no supply of water in Gelugor,” he added.