Malaysia: ‘Manage water resources better’

The Star 26 Mar 17;

PORT DICKSON: With five states expected to face problems supplying treated water to consumers, the federal authorities want all state governments to implement measures to better manage their water resources and catchment areas.

Based on the National Water Resources Study (2000-2050), the states that are expected to face problems with supply were Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Malacca.

Some state authorities were weak in managing these resources, causing their water catchment areas to be polluted, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

“River pollution has caused water quality to deteriorate to Class Three or Four.

“When this happens, the volume of water that can be treated would be reduced and the cost to treat it would increase,” he said at the national World Water Day celebration yesterday.

Class Five is the highest pollution level under Malaysia’s Water Quality Index.

The Federal Government has allocated RM49.5mil under the 11th Malaysia Plan to implement a Water Balance Development Programme to help the affected states receive water supply.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said it was also unfortunate that some states faced water supply problems although the country received 907 billion cubic metres of rainfall annually.

“That is why there is a pressing need to better manage our water resources. In fact, state authorities should also use groundwater as an alternative source of drinking water,” he said, adding that the country had an estimated three trillion cubic metres of groundwater.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said utilising groundwater was a good option as 82.4% of treated water was sourced from rivers and another 16% from dams.

“Only 1.5% currently consumed comes from groundwater,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said a Bill would be tabled in Parliament to allow the Federal Government to coordinate water related matters in the country.

“We do not plan to usurp the po­­wers of the state governments.

“All we plan to do is to have a template which will allow states to better cooperate whenever they face water related problems,” he said.

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