Malaysia: More research needed on groundwater reserves, says Wan Junaidi

SUZANNE LAZAROO The Star 5 Apr 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Groundwater reserves are a viable alternative source of water, but more research must be done before extraction can be carried out, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Jaafar.

He said this in the Dewan Rakyat, in a written response to Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (BN-Mersing).

Dr Abdul Latiff had asked about untouched groundwater reserves, which could be used, especially in the event of a drought.

According to Wan Junaidi, a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) in 1982 showed that Malaysia had groundwater reserves of 5 trillion m³.

“We need to conduct comprehensive studies on 189 groundwater basins, before extensive extraction can be done throughout the country,” he added.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the Minerals and Geoscience Department Malaysia (JMG) conducted studies on two groundwater basins, at Sungai Kelantan Utara and Sungai Langat.

“The department found that in the Kelantan Utara basin, 509,000m³ can be safely extracted per day, with 125,000 m³ currently being used daily. In the Sungai Langat basin, 45,000m³ can be safely extracted daily, and 19,000 m³ is already being used per day,” he said.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, JMG will run groundwater assessments on five basins: Lembangan Sungai Muda in Kedah, Lembangan Sungai Selangor in Selangor, Lembangan Sungai Kedamaian-Tempasok in Sabah, Lembangan Sungai Pahang in Pahang and Lembangan Sungai Miri in Sarawak.

This research project is expected to run for five years, from 2016 to 2020.

It was reported that the Ministry would soon table a new law to standardise water management processes nationwide. The new law would include recommendations for states to gazette all water catchments and sources.

‘Rethink provision of free water to all’
The Star 7 Apr 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: State governments should rethink giving free water to every home and instead limit it to certain households, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The Natural Resources and Environment Minister called on the Penang and Selangor governments to review their decision as dams continue depleting due to the heatwave.

Giving free water “does not serve its real purpose” except to the benefit of a few, he said after launching the Asia Water Resource 2016 Expo and Forum yesterday.

On Sunday, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said despite incurring a cost of RM1.1bil for providing 20 cubic metres of free water to households in Selangor, the programme would go on.

Wan Junaidi said it was important for the state governments to understand the concerns of the Federal Government on national water security.

He said the authorities need to better gauge how water was being used in the country.

Such a study could also look into water usage in various industries, he said.

“We are engaging with the National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia and the Malay­sia External Trade Development Corporation on whether industries can be encouraged to store water for their own use.

On the National Water Resources Bill, he said the Ministry was in the midst of gathering the views and suggestions of every state on it.

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