post by Susanne Chi
Dr K. Kalithasan of the Global Environment Centre (GEC) said Malaysians were using between 184 and 500 litres daily.
Much of the water is wasted for "businesses" in the toilet and bathroom, he told reporters after presenting a talk at a workshop on water conservation for 70 students, here.
Kalithasan said the daily water usage per Malaysian was about 184 litres but in bigger towns and cities the usage could reach as high as 300 to 500 litres.
He said Malaysians were generally living in a comfort zone where water scarcity was still not a huge issue.
"We only appreciate it (water) when crises arise," he said.
The two-year national water conservation campaign, which started in July last year, is jointly organised by the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry, the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) and GEC.
On the role of the public in river conservation efforts, Kalithasan said the government should transfer the responsiblity and let the general public hold ownership of such projects if it is serious about the efforts yielding positive results in the long run.
He said the government was now holding the responsibility of river conservation and the participation from the grassroots in the effort was too scarce and not consistent.
He said many of such projects failed because the allocated money was largely spent on advertisements rather than proactive action that involved people at the grassroots level.
"When the community doesn't hold the ownership, it doesn't feel the need to be responsible for the rivers. Ideally, such projects should be focused on the grassroots level where the community is provided with some resources to launch their campaigns," he said.