Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1961 water pact with Johor expires today

THROUGHOUT the term of the 1961 Water Agreement, which expires today, the Johor water authorities and Public Utilities Board (PUB) enjoyed a 'good and cordial' working relationship, both sides said last night when announcing the handover of waterworks and other facilities to Johor.

They also noted in a statement last night that at the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat in May last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong informed his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak that on expiry of the pact, Singapore would hand over the waterworks under the agreement to the Johor water authorities free of charge and in good working order.

Since then, a Joint Technical Committee and Joint Working Group of officials from the PUB and Johor state government worked on the transfer of the waterworks and facilities. This includes training employees who will take over its operations from tomorrow.

The handover today involves the Skudai and Gunung Pulai water treatment plants, which were built and managed by PUB for 50 years, as well as two pump houses in Pontian and Tebrau.

After this, PUB will still operate the Linggiu dam and Johor River water treatment plant in the state.

The handover marks the end of the 1961 Water Agreement that Singapore and Johor signed. Two other agreements, inked in 1962 and 1990, expire in 2061.

The handover ceremony at the Gunung Pulai Waterworks will be witnessed by Johor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, Singapore Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman.

The statement said the expiry of the 1961 pact will not have any impact on water supply for Singapore and Johor. Singapore has said previously that going forward, desalinated water will play a larger role in water supply. It is one of four sources of water supply. The others are local reservoirs, imports and Newater.