How Pan-Island-Link 1 (PIL1) will affect our water supply

How Pan-Island-Link 1 (PIL1) will affect our water supply

Penang Hills Watch (PHW) would like to bring attention to our finding that three water intake points of the Pihak Berkuasa Air Pulau Pinang (PBAPP) in the Air Itam hills are located very close to the alignment of the proposed Pan-Island Link Phase 1 (PIL1).

Map 1. 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 05 July 2018.

The water intake points in question and their geographical coordinates points according to the Peraturan- Peraturan Kualiti Alam Sekeliling (Efluen Perindustrian) 2009 are as follows:
1. Air Itam Main Stream (maps link)
2. Air Itam Side Stream (maps link)
3. Tat’s Stream (maps link)

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 below shows their locations over the Google Earth image on which is also superimposed the proposed alignment of the PIL1 according to the EIA report. The close proximity of these water intake points to the proposed highway alignment has not been disclosed in the PIL1 EIA report.

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

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.

Penang Hills Watch

We would like to know if:

  1. With this omission in PIL1 EIA report concern should be raised of 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 350 m upstream of the Tat’s Stream intake point and the Main Stream intake point is about 150 m 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) and PBAPP have noted this omission and commented on the implications on the continued water extraction and supply at these intake points.

While the PIL1 EIA report has already been approved by the Department 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 Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang and the Head of the Bahagian Kawal Selia Air (BAKSA) Pulau Pinang, awaiting their responses.

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