Water: Adopt a ‘waste not, want not’ approach

Posted on March 23, 2011. Filed under: Water resource |


In Malaysia, shortage of water shortage  is caused more by wastage and  a couldn’t-be-bothered attitude.

In Malaysia, shortage of water shortage is caused more by wastage and a couldn’t-be-bothered attitude.

I REFER to your well-written editorial “Pricing water” (NST, March 18 ).

Water is the most common and important substance on Earth, covering more than 70 per cent of the planet’s surface.

In ancient times, people lived near springs, rivers and lakes to get water to survive. Later, civilisations flourished along riverbanks in Egypt, Mesopotania, India and China.
But, today, modern technology can furnish water in huge quantities to people who live far from its source, like using hydraulic machinery for raising water from great depths and pumps for driving water through pipelines.

Yet, many people still take its presence for granted. This problem is global. Every year, there are water shortages in various parts of the world.

In Malaysia, shortage of water is not caused by little or no rainfall but by wastage and the couldn’t-be-bothered attitude of consumers.
Recently, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui disclosed that Malaysians waste the most amount of water compared with other consumers in the region.

It is even more shocking to know that about 70 per cent of Malaysians surveyed in the Domestic Water Consumption Study, from which Chin was quoting, said they would continue with their current water usage for the next three years.

We must be careful how we use water and should not take water supply for granted.
Climate change, drought, increasing population, expansion of manufacturing industries, pollution and poor management will cause water shortages.

And, without water, our lives would be very different and difficult. In fact, life itself cannot exist without water.

Before we come to the critical stage, let’s take the following steps:

– The most practical approach to reducing water shortage is conservation. This means using less water. Factories can reuse the water they use for cooling. Big cities can save large amounts of water simply by repairing leaking water mains. Ordinary people can learn to use water optimally.

We can fix leaking faucets, turn off the tap when not using it and wash the dishes in a basin of water rather than under running water from a faucet;

– The cheap price of water does not help in encouraging conservation. Perhaps, raising the price of water could help improve the situation. With a price increase, water authorities can be expected to provide better service; and,

– Lessons must be learned from the recent calamity in Japan. The first thing many of those who survived sought was water. We must realise how precious it is.

I urge the government to be careful in managing water and to take immediate steps to educate the people to use water wisely.

It should organise campaigns to educate the public. We have to learn to treasure water before it is too late.

Read more: Water: Adopt a ‘waste not, want not’ approach http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/18waters3/Article/#ixzz1LLjAeULw

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