Ensuring A Better Water Future for Malaysia
Human overuse of water resources and diffuse contamination of freshwater are stressing the water resources in the terrestrial water cycle. As a consequence, the ecological functions of water bodies, soils and groundwater in the water cycle are hampered and being further exacerbated by threats from impending climate change. Though Malaysia is blessed with fairly abundant rainfall it still has its fair share of water woes, such as occasional droughts, looding and pollution of its rivers and water bodies. Only recently, the country was faced with water related hazards of fairly disastrous proportions. Recurring potable water shortages that occurred in 2014 and 2015 in several states had led to water rationing. Malaysia has since the early 1990s set its vision to become a fully developed country by the year 2020 (Vision 2020). The transformation of the water sector must also evolve in tandem to meet sustainable development goals beitting a developed nation status by 2020. The National Water Resources Policy (NWRP), launched in March 2012, is based on the 3 essential principles i.e. water resources security, water resources sustainability and collaborative governance. This paper will review the various water-related issues and challenges whilst proposing the implementation of the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Road Map including the measures to be undertaken to effect the transformation of the water sector in pursuit of Vision 2020 and to achieve the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The indings and recommendations are largely based on several in-depth studies undertaken by the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia (ASM) pertaining to the water sector and the IWRM agenda.