Three water intake points so near proposed Penang mega-highway

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Locations of three PBAPP water intake points (blue markers) in relation to the proposed PIL1 alignment (tunnel sections in yellow dashes, viaduct in red), superimposed over the Google Earth image of 5 July 2018

Penang Hills Watch would like to bring attention to our finding that three water intake points of the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) in the Air Itam hills are located very close to the alignment of the proposed Pan Island Link phase one (PIL1).

The water intake points in question and their geographical coordinates according to the Environmental Quality (Industrial Effluents) Regulations 2009 are as follows:

  1. Air Itam Main Stream (5°23’58.70″N, 100°16’3.62″E)
  2. Air Itam Side Stream (5°24’13.59″N, 100°15’52.45″E)
  3. Tat’s Stream (5°24’54.27″N, 100°16’45.26″E)

We verified the geographical locations of these three water intake points from field visits to the sites (Figures 1, 2 and 3). These water intake points are the sources of water supply to the Air Itam Dam and ultimately for water consumption on the island.

Map 1 (top) shows their locations over the Google Earth image on which is also superimposed the proposed alignment of the PIL1, according to the environmental impact assessment report. The close proximity of these water intake points to the proposed highway alignment has not been disclosed in the PIL1 environmental impact assessment report.

We would like to know if:

  1. with this omission in the PIL1 environmental impact assessment report, concern should be raised about the potential impact on the water supply not having been taken into account in evaluating the environmental impacts of the proposed project. It is to be noted that the proposed PIL1 alignment is about 350m upstream of the Tat’s Stream intake point, and the Main Stream intake point is about 150m from the tunnel-viaduct junction. Given the fractured nature of the granitic bedrock of Penang Island, we are concerned about the impacts the construction of the PIL1 would have on the surface and groundwater hydrology that might affect flow and water availability at these intake points.
  2. the Bahagian Kawal Selia Air (BKSA) (the water regulatory body) and PBAPP have noted this omission and commented on the implications of the continued water extraction and supply at these intake points.
READ MORE:  Why we must protect the 'Central Park' of Penang

While the PIL1 environmental impact assessment report has already been approved by the Department of Environment, we urge that this matter be seriously taken up and investigated and its findings duly disclosed to the public.

Note: This message has been sent to the Penang chief minister, the director of the Department of Environment, the CEO of PBAPP and the head of BKSA Penang and is awaiting their responses.

Figure 1 (two photos below): Air Itam Main Stream intake point (GPS: 5°23’58.70″N, 100°16’3.62″E)

Figure 2 (two photos below): Air Itam Side Stream intake point (GPS: 5°24’13.59″N, 100°15’52.45″E)

Figure 3 (photo below): Tat’s Stream intake point (GPS: 5°24’54.27″N, 100°16’45.26″E)

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Santana Kl
Santana Kl
19 Feb 2020 10.07pm

This is something very serious. How is that the environmental impact study did not reveal this to the public. The credibility of the company which did the study have to be investigated. The people of Penang has to be alerted to this fact. The CM must be held responsible for not divulging a material fact which may decide the fate of the project.