Friday, August 31, 2007

Tapping Rain Water

post by Susanne Chi

Tapping Rain Water
theSun E-Paper

Tapping Rain Water

Ministry to Identify Buildings and Formulate By-Laws

by R. Manirajan

PUTRAJAYA: Certain types of buildings and houses will soon need to have a system to harvest rain water, so that treated water can be reserved for drinking.

The National Water Resources Council, chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has agreed that nationwide by-laws be drafted to make such a system compulsory for bungalows, factories and schools.

After the council met yesterday, Abdullah said the Housing and Local Government Ministry would formulate the by-laws which would then be tabled in the Local Council Cabinet Committee meeting chaired by his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“Once approved, the by-laws will be tabled in the state assemblies for final approval and implementation,” he said.

Firstly, the categories of buildings to be covered by the proposed law needs to be identified. “Obviously, to harvest rain water, we need a large area ... the roof must be large enough to harvest an adequate amount.

“Smaller houses will not need to do this because we have to make sure the houses have gutters. Low-cost houses do not require such a system as it will raise the cost.”

With the system in place, harvested rain water can be used to wash cars, water plants and wash the porch and toilets. Treated water is saved for drinking and bathing, a move that can reduce the water bill.

The council has also directed a comprehensive study to identify underground water resources. “We want to know how much underground water is available and identify these areas. There has been an effort
to identify underground water resources but it did not proceed as desired. We want detailed information so that we can know the extent of the underground water,” Abdullah said.

The council also decided that an Integrated River Basin Management system needed to be set up in all states to protect water sources from pollution.

There are 189 river basins in the country, of which 17 are highly-polluted. At present, states manage their own river basin, with no one overseeing them. Abdullah said many rivers are polluted, while some are “dead”.

“Much of the pollution takes place in urban and housing development areas. Factories are dumping toxins and people are throwing all kinds of rubbish into our rivers.”

Abdullah said the meeting, which was also attended by mentris besar and chief ministers, had been directed to put a stop to this immediately and take action against the culprits.

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