Groundwater usage is low at less than three per cent in Malaysia - PM

26 Mar 2022 03:23pm
Prime Minister and Bera MP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during his speech at the launching of World Water Day 2022 national-level celebration at Taman Awam Bera, today. - BERNAMA
Prime Minister and Bera MP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during his speech at the launching of World Water Day 2022 national-level celebration at Taman Awam Bera, today. - BERNAMA

BERA - The use of groundwater in Malaysia is at less than three per cent despite its capacity of 5,000 billion cubic metres of groundwater resource and regeneration capability of 64 billion cubic metres annually, said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The prime minister said this massive capacity meant that groundwater could be an alternative source of water supply for the country but for now it is only used as a source of drinking water in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

He said countries with high usage of groundwater included Denmark at 100 per cent, Austria (98 per cent) Thailand (80 per cent), China (78 per cent) and the United States (50 per cent).

"The National Water Resources Study (NWRS) for Peninsular Malaysia (2000-2050) found that groundwater can be used as an alternative source of water for the rural and isolated areas and for various purposes, including industry, agriculture and domestic through several suitable methods and processes,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said this when launching the World Water Day 2022 national-level celebration at Taman Awam Bera here today. Also present was Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

Ismail Sabri said the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry (KeTSA) through the Minerals and Geoscience Department (JMG) was actively implementing activities such as mapping, development, monitoring and Development of Data Centre and Groundwater Inventory to increase use of groundwater.

"This measure is to increase the use of groundwater as a conjunctive source of water supply for the use of structures such as underground dams, managed aquifer recharge and riverbank filtration,” he said.

In a related development, Ismail Sabri said the government was reviewing the National Water Resources Policy (DSAN), taking into account the current situation and challenges faced by the country’s water sector, adding that it will be aligned with the Water Sector Transformation Plan 2040 and development plans under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

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DSAN emphasises the need for environmental protection to conserve water resources, and among its main thrusts is the assurance and sustainability of adequate and safe water resources through conservation and effective management.

The prime minister said although Malaysia has sufficient resources to provide safe and treated water, there were still issues and challenges related to water management that needed to be addressed effectively to achieve sustainable and holistic management of the country's water resources.

The issues include excessive quantities of water during the rainy season, insufficient amounts during droughts as well as deteriorating water quality and uneven distribution, he said.

The prime minister also hoped that the Federal government, state governments, departments and agencies will work together in the implementation of water resource management in an integrated manner as well as continued conservation of water resources to ensure availability.

Ismail Sabri, who is Bera assemblyman, said the implementation of the Environmentally-Friendly Drainage Master Plan or PISMA, for Bera town by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage can be used as a guide and reference for systematic and sustainable future development plans.

The project, among others, involves a drainage system to reduce the risk of floods and is expected to benefit about 100,000 residents in the Bera area when completed.

During the celebration, themed 'Sustaining Water Resources: Utilising Groundwater', Ismail Sabri also launched a book titled 'Air dan Pembentungan di Malaysia: Sejarah serta Perspektif' (Water and Sewerage in Malaysia: History and Perspective) which is suitable to be used as reference material by students, researchers and related institutions. - BERNAMA

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