Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poor and unsustainable water management....

Water shortage crisis looms over Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Many parts of Malaysia face a lack of water although the country has renewable water that is five times per head higher than that in many regions in the world.

And poor water management is the culprit, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Unggah Embas.

The country's per capita renewable water was about 5,000 cubic metres per year compared to many regions in the world that had less than 1,000 cubic metres, he said when opening the Third Water and Environment Partnership in Asia (WEPA) International Forum on Water Environmental Governance on Wednesday.

Obviously, this problem was attributed to unsustainable management of water resources rather than to the quantity of water available for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses, he said.

His speech was delivered by his deputy, Datuk Maznah Mazlan. Douglas said that, for example, a recent study indicated that only 40 per cent of the country's lakes and reservoirs were in good condition.

"As these water bodies hold large volumes of water that can be utilised during droughts, the management of water quality has become increasingly critical," he said.

He said water quality issues in Malaysia were expected to become increasingly important as the population continued to grow.

The government, among others, would place greater emphasis on water quality programmes to improve the surface water, he said.

WEPA, a programme initiated under the Japanese Ministry of Environment following the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan, in 2003 has chosen Malaysia to hold the two-day forum beginning Wednesday. Bernama

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