‘Improve water security’

PETALING JAYA: More needs to be done to ensure water security for the country, say water experts.

Association of Water and Energy Research (Awer) president S. Piarapakaran said that at present, Malaysia’s water security was still inadequate.

“Water security is to ensure there is enough supply of water – both raw and treated water.

“With the increasing population and economic activities, we need more water to meet demand.

“We will (also) face harsher wet and dry conditions,” said Piarapakaran when contacted.

He said that there was a need to increase the raw water reserve margin and to reduce non-revenue water, which referred to treated water that was lost before it reaches consumers, due to factors such as leakage.

The increase of the water reserve margin and the decrease of non-revenue water will help boost the country’s treated water margin, he said.

“This will further buffer us from water rationing (in the future),” he added.

He said that there were several factors that were adversely affecting water security in the country.

“Unfortunately, we are losing forest cover fast and this affects water security,” he said, adding that government agencies and stakeholders also needed to step up on delivering solutions, instead of just preparing reports and plans.

“We need to prepare to mitigate now or it will be too costly to do it in the near future,” he added.

Water quality and modelling specialist Dr Zaki Zainudin said that the government needed to think “out of the box” in terms of boosting the country’s water security.

“I am of the opinion that we need to think out of the box; and do away with conventional thinking in terms of tapping water resources.

“For example, we have many polluted rivers such as Sungai Klang.

“Imagine if we can better manage pollution in these rivers and these rivers become clean – we can actually use water from these rivers for supply, but unfortunately they are now too polluted to be tapped,” said Zaki.

He added that the way to move forward was to increase offsite river storage (ORS), which referred to storing river or rain water in ponds.

“The ORS strategy is plausible to help ensure water security; but it is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” he said, adding that this was why river pollution needed to be addressed, as the ORS was not suitable in areas where there were high or critical pollution loads.

Source : TheStar