Use of AC pipes contributes to high NRW, Dewan Rakyat told

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KUALA LUMPUR: The high Non-Revenue Water (NRW) rate in the country is primarily caused by ageing pipes, especially asbestos cement (AC) pipes installed 30 to 50 years ago, which have exceeded their lifespan, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Energy Transition and Water Transformation Minister Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said that the high NRW rate leads to significant water loss, amounting to 4,882 million litres per day based on 2023 records, resulting in annual losses of RM2 billion at current tariff rates.

“Currently, our checks indicate that 39,752 kilometres or 28.7 percent of the total pipe network still consists of AC pipes,“ he said when winding up debate on the motion of the Auditor-General’s Report.

Akmal Nasrullah added that the responsibility for NRW maintenance and control lies with the water operators.

“However, at the federal level, interventions known as Approach One and Approach Two are implemented to assist states in reducing NRW rates.

“States with NRW exceeding 40 percent receive grants under Approach One, namely Kedah, Perlis, Pahang, Kelantan, Sabah, Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan. Other states need to match grants under Approach Two and incur initial expenditures,“ he explained.

The ministry, he said, is currently exploring comprehensive packages to aid states in reducing NRW rates but until AC pipes are replaced, NRW losses will remain high.

According to the Auditor-General’s Report Series 2/24 tabled on July 4, the targeted reduction in NRW percentage has not been achieved due to persistently high NRW rates.

The National Water Efficiency and Sustainability Plan set a target of 35 percent NRW for the entire country in 2020, reducing to 32 percent last year. However, the Audit review found the national NRW achievement recorded for 2022 was 34.4 percent, involving Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

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