Time to reassess water management system

A flash flood inundated Kuala Lumpur recently. We need to ensure preventive measures are in place. - NSTP/File picA flash flood inundated Kuala Lumpur recently. We need to ensure preventive measures are in place. – NSTP/File pic

LETTER: Recently, Klang Valley saw two water-related issues: an unscheduled water disruption as a result of odour pollution in Sungai Gong and flash floods that overwhelmed areas in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Having both water issues happen within a week of each other shines a spotlight on the urgent need to reassess our water management system and ensure it is able to provide for the needs of those in the community in the long term.

In 2016, Akademi Sains Malaysia published a report titled “Transforming the Water Sector: National Integrated Water Resources Management Plan”, which provided a comprehensive assessment of our water sector and recommendations to safeguard this crucial resource.

The main recommendation was for states to set up an Integrated Water Resources Management plan. States will be able to integrate planning, monitoring, enforcement and management of water resources on a river-basin basis. This will not only improve response rates, but also serve as a preventive tool to ensure our water sources remain secure.

Enforcing reactive measures is justified when it concerns repeat offenders. However, the primary focus should be in ensuring that preventive measures are well in place within the framework as it will lead to a society that is aware of the impact of their actions.

Businesses should prove that they have mechanisms in place to ensure they are not discharging wastewater or effluents into waterways at the risk of inconveniencing those in the area.

Civil servants responsible for safeguarding our water supply should be empowered with technical and technological know-how to assess a business premises’ compliance level.

If anything, the water disruption has brought home the fact that we are heavily reliant on this natural resource to survive. Water is a vital ingredient — it is needed from residences to hospitals to businesses.

Managing the water sector is a joint responsibility of all — public and private sectors as well as communities — as it cuts across multiple sectors of land use management, multiple water agencies and governance.

by DR SALMAH ZAKARIA.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/09/626240/time-reassess-water-management-system

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