Saturday, September 29, 2007

‘Water industry funds mismanaged’

post by Susanne Chi

‘Water industry funds mismanaged’

KUALA LUMPUR: International studies indicate that 20%-40% of the financial resources in the water industry is drained by corruption, through revenue leakage, misallocation of funds to a nonperforming department and procurements, said social activist Josie Fernandez.

The lack of transparency intensifies water scarcity, she said at the “Coping with Water Scarcity” seminar here in conjunction with the recent World Water Day.

“The money is not in the water but in procurement and I think the public should be able to sit as a member of the boards in water operators and water supply companies to ensure open and transparent procurements,”said Fernandez,a member of anti-corruption group, Transparency
International (TI) Malaysia.

Citing the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board in Pakistan as an example, she said it had managed
to reduce costs through an integrity pact, involving the stakeholders, Karachi’s district government,
Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town,13 union councils and the TI-Pakistan Secretariat.

“Studies showed that in opening tenders and bidding processes for the replacement of pipe projects,
there was more than 500% cost reduction in acquiring pipes alone,” she said.

Fernandez also pointed out that community participation,particularly women,was essential in
conserving water.

Global Environment Centre’s project director, Dr. K. Kalithasan, said the conditions of water
resources and services were the effect of human activities and it was the people’s responsibility to ensure that quality was good.

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