Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In The Name of Progress

The water pressure to my house was so low that water cannot go up to the tank upstairs during the day and the it comes out in a trickle from the garden tap at any given time of the day. The problem started about 4 years back, if memory serves me right... I wrote about it here. Back then we refused to install a pump because we felt it was not right.... And those old pipes... their diameter becomes smaller over time. Ours is more than 10 years old and the quality of water which we have been getting of late has deteriorated even more. These days, my garden water container always have sediments at the bottom. I supposed that too contribute to the pipe getting smaller.... faster. My own home's pipes only was change after 30 years!

Well, we have had to do a rethink. A couple of days back,  the water treatment plant in Bukit Pinang experienced a breakdown. After one particular heavy use on Monday, my house ran out of water. It was after I called the Helpline the next day that I realised water had not been going up for a while due to the problem at the water treatment plant. SADA has a website. While they do put up water disruption notices there, how many people make it a point to check SADA websites everyday... Schools, town halls, kopitiams... I think they have to be more resourceful in getting information to the consumers.

Anyway, after that 'dry spell', we decided it was enough and time to fix a pump to draw from the mains like everyone else. Much to my chagrin, water was still not coming in after that. Bear in mind that 4 years ago, SADA officials came to my house after I complained about low pressure. They told us to fix a pump. They didn't send anyone to check the pipe from the mains to our house this time around. This time around, toilets without water.... I finally caved in and fixed the pump.

After the pump was fixed, the problem persisted. This time around, due to my insistence and repeated calls, somebody from SADA called up. And this was what I was told... that I had to get a licensed plumber to lay a new pipe from the main to my house. And I have to pay for the laying of the new pipe. The plumber we called has yet to come. I think including online complaints, I made a total of probably 5-6 complaints over a period of 5 days, thereabout. 

This morning when I called their Helpline again, I was told that they deal with 60-70 complaints a day. And that they could not be sure when they will look into my complaints. I think back in those old days when JKR was in charge, the response time was way faster. So much for privatisation. Can't say we have better service. Can't say I am getting better advice too. 

As for licensed plumber.... I think most people don't even know where to find one. There is no online list on SADA's website. I think most of us just have to depend on the SADA people to recommend or point us to someone. There is always room for abuse when not everything is efficient or transparent.

Water is a basic necessity. And we have privatised that. Question is, when the water company does not deliver the service that is expected, who do we bring the matter to? Privatisation is supposed to mean better everything. But it feels like we are paying more .... for less?? Water metres get stolen and the onus is on the owners to pay for the replacements... for something not totally their fault. Metal water metres are an attraction as they fetch some value.

Progress ... it's subject to interpretation like everything else. In my line of work, better sets of results equals to progress. Winning more competitions means progress too... Owning a big car, living in an even bigger house... we call it progress. Progress is when we have things to show... the more, the more progress.

Progress for water delivery?? Well, I guess inside, outside... we have to pay to ensure delivery. That is the price for progress. We need to pay more for everything...

That water crisis cost me more than just $$$. The eventual cleanup that I had to do after the 'renovation' caused my old injury to revisit with a small vengeance. Sigh.... 

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