Monday, March 27, 2006

Water oh Water

Here is an interesting article concerning water problem in Malaysia.
I like the suggestion that we all should take example from our forefathers, collect and store rainwater for our use.
I grew up in a village, back then we didnt have piped water. So my parent collect rainwater into big drum and tempayan. Those water would be used for drinking and cooking food. As for washing and ablution, we used water from our well. Our land was formerly paya bakau wetland, so the ground water is salty.
Malaysia has high precipitation, but sadly most of the water is wasted down the drain. Collection of rain water could help in reducing our dependence on water companies.

Brace for water shortages


PETALING JAYA: Many of the 189 river basins nationwide are in dire straits.

This warning from Department of Irrigation and Drainage director-general Datuk Keizrul Abdullah may sound extreme, but that is the reality of today.

Parts of the country, particularly the Klang Valley, he said, would be facing a water crisis as early as next year unless the agencies concerned and the people started taking serious care of rivers.

WASTE EVERYWHERE: A collector scooping up plastic bottles discarded into Sungai Selangor. The boom which stops rubbish from flowing downstream into the nearby Puncak Niaga Water Intake Station has not been cleaned for months.
“On one hand, we have river basins overburdened by problems brought about by over- development. On the other hand, the number of people dependent on these rivers keeps rising because they are attracted to the development.

“That is a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Keizrul described the problem facing the country as “a classic situation where rivers are under pressure from development.”

“We get sedimentation, we get floods, we get pollution, yet we are also taking more water from rivers, so there is less volume and in the process, the pollution gets more concentrated,” he said.

Apart from the Klang Valley, he said, water supply crises were also imminent in Penang and Malacca.

According to him, the situation was compounded by dry weather flow problems and inefficient management of water resources.

“Dry weather flow problems are particular to river basins that are over-developed as they have less ground water storage due to drainage systems that efficiently send rainwater direct into rivers and then literally to waste in the sea,” he said.

The increased water run-off – not only in terms of volume but also speed – contributed to flash floods, high sedimentation and shallow rivers, he added

“Unless this problem is tackled, there may come a time when some of our river basins will not even have enough water to reach the sea during the dry season, let alone provide water for household needs.

RIVERSIDE DUMP: Construction debris dumped along Sungai Selangor is also a source of river pollution.
”Some river basins providing clean water to the people are already reaching their limits,” he said.

Water demand for Selangor and the Federal Territories is now 2,500 million litres per day and the figure will double by 2010.

The authorities, Keizrul said, must come up with more comprehensive programmes to rid water catchment areas of polluting industries, introduce better development guidelines and control, and put in place better water management systems.

“And the people must stop treating our rivers like toilets,” he said.

Given the current situation, Keizrul said, it was high time good river management be given high priority as over 97% of the country’s water supply came from rivers while only 3% was sourced from ground water.

In view of the looming disaster, he said, the people must do their part to complement the Government’s efforts by using water efficiently and not treat rivers as dumping grounds.

“For instance, they can start by collecting and storing rain water like what our forefathers used to do and use this for washing and flushing toilets,” he said.

Keizrul also urged the Government to raise water tariffs so that the increased revenue could be used to set up a river fund to rehabilitate rivers.

“Before people get angry with me by claiming that this will burden the poor, let me also suggest that since water is a necessity, let the first 10,000 litres be free, but the tariff for usage beyond that be double the current rates,” he said.

Tomorrow: Floating landfill at Batang Berjuntai

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