1901 – 1980

Air Itam Water Treatment Plant and Reservoir

1914 2nd reservoir: Air Itam Reservoir was commissioned to meet the needs of a growing population. This reservoir is still in service in 2021.
1919 A Water Department was set up under the George Town City Municipal Council.
1929 1st water treatment plant: The Air Itam Water Treatment Plant was commissioned. It is still operational in 2021.
1941 – 45 World War 2: Penang fell under the control of the Japanese Occupational Forces in 1941. British forces “liberated” Penang in 1945.
1957 The Federation of Malaya (including Penang) gained independence from the British Empire.
1962 1st dam on Penang Island: The 2.16 billion-litre Air Itam Dam was commissioned to serve the township of Air Itam and surrounding areas.
1963 A new nation called Malaysia was born, with Penang as one of its 13 component states.
1969 Penang’s free port status was revoked by the Federal Government.
1972 Malaysia’s first Free Trade Zone (or FTZ) was established in Bayan Lepas, near the Penang International Airport, under the leadership of Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu, the 2nd Chief Minister of Penang. It heralded the beginning of the manufacturing era in Penang, with the arrival of the first wave of multinational manufacturing corporations (MNCs).
  • The Penang Water Authority, or “Pihak Berkuasa Air” (PBA), was set up to supply water in Penang.
  • Phase 1 of the “Muda River Water Scheme” (MRWS) officially opened by Tun Abdul Razak bin Hussein, the 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia, in Seberang Prai. The MRWS was funded by an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan, with a “water guarantee” from Kedah as a “pre-condition”. This guarantee, as provided by Kedah, allowed Penang to abstract water from the Muda River (Sungai Muda), without any conditions or payment.
  • PBA began abstracting raw water from Sungai Muda at the Lahar Tiang Intake in Seberang Prai. The raw water was pumped, via the 14km Sungai Dua Canal, to the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant (WTP).
  • Package 1 of the Sungai Dua WTP commissioned, with an initial maximum water treatment capacity of the Sungai Dua WTP was 136 million litres per day (MLD).
  • 1st Penang Twin Submarine Pipelines (1st PTSP) commissioned, with a maximum capacity of 143 MLD, to deliver treated water from the Sungai Dua WTP to Penang Island.