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Malaysia lacks water despite resources

PUTRAJAYA, 23 Oct 2008: Malaysia faces a lack of water resources in many parts of the country despite its per capita renewable water being five times higher than in many other regions, a forum here was told today.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said the country’s renewable water was about 5,000 cubic metres per person per year.

In comparison, many regions in the world have less than 1,000 cubic metres per capita per year, he said when opening the Third Water and Environment Partnership in Asia (Wepa) International Forum on Water Environmental Governance here.

Obviously, he said, this problem was attributed to unsustainable management of water resources rather than to the quantity of water available for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses.

His speech text was delivered by his deputy, Datuk Maznah Mazlan.

Uggah said that, for example, a recent study indicated that only 40% of the country’s lakes and reservoirs were in good condition.

“As these water bodies hold large volumes of water that can be utilised during droughts, the management of water quality has become increasingly critical,” he said.

He said water quality issues in Malaysia were expected to be an important agenda in the future as the population continued to grow.

The government, among others, would give greater emphasis to water quality programmes so as to improve surface water.

Wepa, a programme initiated under the Japanese Ministry of Environment following the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan in 2003 chose Malaysia to hold the two-day forum which ends tomorrow. — Bernama


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