WWF-Malaysia has voiced its concerns over the Pahang-Selangor Inter-state Raw Water Transfer Project (ISRWT) project via the project’s Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) review and stakeholders’ consultation process as soon as the proposed project was announced to the public in 2000.
WWF-Malaysia is currently a member of the Project Technical Committee – formed following the approval of the DEIA in 2001 – chaired by the Ministry of Water, Energy and Communication with members comprising inter-government agencies from federal government and the Pahang and Selangor States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and representatives from affected local communities.
Through this committee, WWF-Malaysia provides its views and recommendations with the aim to ensure conservation and environmental considerations are sufficiently incorporated into the project. WWF-Malaysia intends to recommend to the Technical Committee the establishment of an independent environmental audit to appraise the project during its construction and operational phases as a check and balance measure.
While WWF-Malaysia recognizes the government’s rationale for the Pahang-Selangor ISRWT as a strategy to address water shortage problems in Selangor, we are equally concerned with the environmental, social and financial implications of such a large-scale project.
In the long term, WWF-Malaysia disagrees that physical infrastructure development such as dams and water transfer schemes between river basins would be a sustainable option on the basis that this approach more often than not tends to be very costly not only economically and socially, but also in terms of the environmental trade-offs and costs. There are important lessons to be learned from the Pahang-Selangor ISRWT project. This project demonstrates the urgent need for implementation of integrated planning and management of water resources for tackling problems of water shortage. Building of more dams and inter-basin water transfer schemes alone will not solve the problems.
Instead, effective implementation of integrated water resources management must be realized by ensuring more efforts and investments are directed to more cost-effective and less detrimental measures such as:
(a) changing the current system of supply driven to demand driven management of water resources;
(b) reducing the rate of non-revenue water (NRW) by improving water distribution system and increasing monitoring, enforcement and penalty to tackle water theft;
(c) effective protection and management of water catchment forests and rivers;
(d) introduction of economic instruments such as better water supply pricing systems that internalize environmental costs and incentives to consumers to encourage water saving and to reduce water wastage;
(e) intensifying programmes to educate and increase awareness of Malaysians regarding water conservation practices;
(f) application of water saving systems and devices in residential and commercial centres.
For further information:
Eza Dzul Karnain,
Media & Public Affairs Co-ordinator,
Tel: + 603 7803 3772,
VICE PRINCIPAL, BIJAN INTERNATIONAL SDN BHD (683313-V)