Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Proper water management vital, says Raja Nazrin

Star Online
Tuesday April 1, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Global competition and even conflicts in water usage are likely to occur if proper water resource management is not carried out immediately, the Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said.

He said the world's population was expected to increase by 30% in 2025, and the pressure of fresh water for human consumption would become more critical.

The prince said some 1.2 billion people were now without access to safe drinking water and half of the world's population lacked adequate water purification systems while some 2.4 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation, posimg contamination to water resources.

Raja Nazrin said a growing population coupled with the fast pace of socio-economic and industrial development, especially over the last three decades, hadimposed greater demands on water supply.

He added rapid urbanisation, industrial and intensive agricultural activities and widespread land development had collectively contributed to extensive water quality deterioration, loss or reduction of catchment areas and flooding.

"Malaysians are seemingly spoilt living in a country rich in resources and abundant with water. However, with weather conditions changing rapidly as a result of global warming, we might find ourselves in such a position in the not too distant future.

"Therefore, it is vital that we put in place comprehensive policies that are effectively implemented to ensure that we will never be in a situation where this basic commodity to survival is not available," he said when opening of the Fifth Asiawater Expo and Forum 2008 at the KL Convention Centre here Tuesday.

The international event showcases water and wastewater industry products from 535 exhibitors from 34 countries.

Raja Nazrin said Malaysia recently adopted the integrated water resources management concept in its management of its water resources as outlined in the Third Outline Perspective Plan and the subsequent Eighth and Ninth Malaysia Plans.

"While innovative technologies will be required to ensure effective and efficient water supply, water demand and water quality systems, the success of these holistic management initiatives requires the support and participation of all stakeholders both from the public and private sectors including the NGOs," he added.

Raja Nazrin called on the expo participants to provide practical solutions to improve the efficiency of water usage, reduction of wastage and propose technologies and management practices that could stretch scarce water supplies much further.

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