Malaysiakini Letter

Malaysians need to reduce water consumption

Nur Imani Abdullah, Fomca
Published:  |  Modified:

Malaysia is a blessed country. We receive an abundance of rainfall per year and we are rich with water resources. Ninety seven percent of water resources in Malaysia are surface water while another 3 percent is groundwater.

Fortunately, for the past few months the water level in several dams crucial in Selangor has showed some significant increase such as in Sungai Selangor and Tasik Subang. The water capacity is surely enough for the next few years. However, Malaysians still should conserve the water.

In 2013, the average water consumption per day of Malaysians was 210 litres, while in 2014, the average consumption has risen by 2 liters which means 212 litres or about 141 bottles of 1.5 litres per person daily. Only 30 percent of the water usage is used for actual consumption such as cooking and drinking, while the rest of it is just for utilities like washing cars, washing pools and washing clothes.

The consumption is still far beyond the water usage recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is 165 liters per day. According to the Malaysian Water Industry Guide 2014, Penang recorded the highest consumption of water per day in 2013 at 296 litres. Meanwhile, the state with the lowest consumption of water per day is Sabah (109 litres).

As it is, Malaysians already use far more water than their neighbors. A 2011 survey found that among South-East Asian consumers, the average Thai use only 90 litres a day, while Singaporeans consume 154 litres and are aiming to lower their daily usage to 100 litres.

Malaysia may undergo a water shortage crisis again if Malaysian people keep on wasting the water. There are several ways to conserve the water and here are some simple tips on reducing the water consumption in our daily life.

  • Take shorter showers (recommended 8 minutes or less).
  • Have plants that require less water.
  • Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose.
  • Use a low-flow shower head.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth, and soaping and scrubbing dishes.
  • Use rainwater to water the plants and to wash your vehicles.
  • Regularly check for any leaking in the toilet and faucets.
  • Try adding a washing up bowl or plug into your sink to catch excess to reduce water wastage by 50 percent.

Seventy one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, however only 1 percent of the water on Earth is fresh water and available to consume. Climate change may affect the availability of water to be consumed. It may exacerbate the water scarcity situation in all countries. Therefore, water conservation is an urgent need.

In the past, the water shortage crisis in many parts of the country occurred due to the inefficient management of the authorities as well as Malaysians’ habit of wasting the water.

In conclusion, Malaysians should continue on saving the water and together reduce the water consumption to 165 liters daily as recommended by the WHO.

NUR IMANI ABDULLAH is research and policy executive, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca).

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