Friday January 25, 2013
Start harvesting rain water
THE water problem in Selangor has been a hot topic, especially in areas hardest hit by it.
I can’t help thinking that if Malaysians had been more environmentally-friendly and had installed rain water-harvesting systems at home since years ago, any water disruption would not have been such a big headache (save for high-rise buildings).
Malaysia has so much rain and this is just washed down the drain, onto the roads, streams and rivers and at times causing flash floods.
Rain water collection systems or tanks (pic) are easy to install and do not cost much, especially when there are already drainpipes from the roof gutter.
Malaysians are generally using expensive treated water to mop floors, clean the house, drains, cars, flush toilets, water plants, etc.
Treated water that is purified and chlorinated should be used mainly in cooking and body washing. Many don’t realise this.
Our public takes for granted that this age-old practice is the accepted norm. But the common practice is not always the correct practice.
Having lived in Sandakan, Sabah for eight years, water cuts are a normal phenomenon that we have become used to.
Most houses have water tanks, for pipe water as well as rain-water.
Even when we had water cuts over a long stretch, our rain-water tank never dried up because we get rain regularly.
Many in the peninsula do not want to consider installing a rain water harvesting system in their house.
I wonder if the reason is because rain water harvesting is considered an out-dated or ancient practice, or because they can easily afford the water bills.
I hope Malaysians will start changing their outlook about rain water tanks as this is a green move with many advantages such as:
> Helps reduce wastage of clean, treated water which rightly should not be used for flushing the toilets, watering plants, washing of drains/floors/vehicles (Malaysians are about the highest water users in Asia – 2,344 per capita cubic metres annual water use as compared to the global average of 1,243 a year according to the 2010 data);
> Reduces flash floods that are becoming a common occurrence causing difficulty and hardship as the water run-off from heavy rain will be lessened with more houses trapping the rain water;
> When a major water disruption occurs, water supply to areas affected using lorries and tankers maybe minimised as supply need only be sent to those affected, i.e. mainly in high-rise buildings.
This will reduce air pollution, reduce petrol/diesel used by the many vehicles needed to transport water; and
> Rain water may actually be cleaner to use as our rivers where our water supply is obtained may be polluted from leachate run-off.
I feel that the Government should make installation of rain-water harvesting systems a must in all landed homes, government departments, private companies and factories.
At the Duchess of Kent HospitaI, Sandakan I installed nearly 10 rain water tanks and this was made possible through donations by generous donors and also Faber Medi-serve, the Government appointed privatised company for hospital maintenance.
Perhaps, we can launch the installation of rain-harvesting water tanks nationwide on World Water Day on March 22 in keeping with our pledge for a greener Malaysia, then hopefully, we may not continue to hold the record for the wrong reasons.
DR ZORINA KHALID
MNS, Negri Sembilan-Melaka Branch