PETALING JAYA: A group of environmental activists have expressed disappointment over the announcement by the government that it planned to utilise five trillion cubic metres of groundwater.
They said groundwater tapping should be seen as a last resort.
Executive director of the Ecotourism and Conservation Malaysia (Ecomy) Andrew Sebastian said the Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar should instead think of ways to protect natural water resources.
“I am disappointed. Being a minister doesn’t mean you exploit natural resources.
“You should find ways how to properly manage and protect our water resources which are very important for the country, not only for now but for the long term,” he told FMT when contacted.
Xavier had said the ministry was looking into the use of groundwater resources to overcome shortages of water and to cut costs at water treatment plants.
According to him, the ministry had started studying the proposal and was currently looking at the most suitable area for groundwater-tapping.
Andrew said the minister would do well to properly research all forms of water resources the country has.
“How about better protection of our rivers and water reserves? And, most importantly, better management of our water catchment areas?
“That is more important than coming up with short-term solutions to long-term problems.”
Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) stressed that Xavier should focus on ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources, instead of seeking ways to exploit them further.
Peka president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil warned this may result in natural disasters, such as ground collapse and fissure, for residents near where the water tapping was done.
“Over-exploitation of groundwater not only quickens the infiltration of surface water but increases the risk of the groundwater becoming polluted. Once this happens, it will be difficult to recover.
“In many cities, the groundwater is polluted to various degrees. The main pollution source is industrial pollution,” she told FMT.
“It serves the nation’s national security to preciously guard our groundwater against political and economic exploitation. This is for the sake of our future generations. Let us not abuse these resources.”