Last year, Perlis recorded the country’s highest percentage of non-revenue water (NRW), or the proportion of treated water that was lost before it reached the consumers, at 60.7%, the Dewan Negara was told on Tuesday.
Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Johnity Ongkili said Perlis was followed by Kedah, Kelantan and Pahang, all which registered close to 50% NRW.
The states which recorded the lowest percentage of NRW were Malacca, Penang and Johor.
Now the federal government has undertaken a new approach and made NRW a national issue.
The ministry will be spending RM531 million for the NRW programme in six states, beginning this year.
The states are Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang, Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan.
On whether the ministry is setting key performance indicators (KPI) for each state to reduce NRW before allowing them to review their water tariffs, Maximus said: “revisions were inevitable”.
He, however stressed that low-income group consumers would be protected from raised tariffs by an existing mechanism.
The federal government has set a 25% NRW reduction target by 2020.
Among causes of NRW are water leakage from worn-out pipes, water theft and metres inaccurately recording water usage.