SPAN estimates RM27.5m lost through water theft

KUALA SELANGOR: The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) today revealed that an estimated RM27.5 million worth of treated water was lost through water theft in peninsula Malaysia so far this year.

Air Selangor corporate communications chief Amin Lin Abdullah said the number is from 14 cases that water authorities are investigating involving more than 12 million m³ of non-revenue water (NRW).

"We have so far issued 14 notices involving (more than) 12 million m³ of water, and the estimated loss is RM27.5 million," Amin told reporters after going on a joint raid between Air Selangor and SPAN here today.

He said these are the cases that have been detected so far this year including the chicken farm and processing facility, later confirmed to be using intercepting pipes, which they raided at noon today.

Amin said it is estimated that the farm had used 56,642.8m³ of NRW with an estimated value of RM129,145.58 and the owner of the 0.4ha-wide facility will be made to pay the arrears.

He said the theft was conducted by installing an intercepting pipe before underground water pipes meet the premise's water meter, siphoning off large amounts of water which was then stored in 20 500-litre tanks for day to day usage while the bill is kept to a minimal.

Amin added that the business registered a water account under the name Kwan Soo @ Kwan Wah Seong in 2012 which was billed an average of RM5,000 a month until September 2015, when water bills dropped to a mere RM36 per month.

In addition to settling the arrears, SPAN Corporate Communications and Consumer Affairs Unit director Hisyam Samad said the factory's owner will also be facing charges.

"If found guilty under Section 123(1) of the Water Services Industry Act, the accused can be sentenced under Section 123(3) of the same act to a fine of no more than RM100,000, a jail term of no longer than a year, or both," Hisyam said.

He hopes that the joint raid will raise awareness on water theft and serve as a caution to those wishing to steal water.