KUALA LUMPUR: Most rivers in Selangor which are the main sources of water supply in the state have been found to be polluted and could potentially become a serious threat to the availability of this basic necessity.
Universiti Putra Malaysia Environmental Forensics Research Centre unit head Dr Hafizan Juahir said the clean water sections of the rivers were getting shorter due to development, especially for housing.
For example, he said, the length of Sungai Langat, the leading source of raw water in the state, was 149.3km -long but the clean water section had been reduced to only 49.3km while the remaining were polluted.
“The entire length of Sungai Langat has entered the Class 3 and 4 categories of being polluted and if the quality worsens, it can be considered a dead river,” he said.
He said that in the Hulu Langat district, the situation was more serious as there was too much development especially condominiums, shop houses while population increase had also negatively impacted water quality through washing and domestic waste dumping in the river.
“I am a scientist and a researcher. I speak based on facts of water quality. I see the details of every parameter of water quality or water quality trend index. There is very little clean water left,” he added.
Dr Hafizan said many people were confused about the sources of water and that because the country had frequent rain to fill dams, they believed Malaysia need not worry about its sources of water.
“The dams can only hold water for treatment before we supply it to the consumers. But we should examine closely where is the water from? The source of waste is from the river.
“If we only hope for rain, it won't be sufficient to meet the increasing demand of urbanisation. It is inevitable that demand for clean water will keep increasing,” he said.
Dr Hafizan said as pollution worsened, the cost of treating water would become more expensive and this would raise the question of whether the Government could continue providing subsidy.
On the Selangor Government's water policy which emphasised restructuring the water industry rather than overcoming problems such as pollution of water sources and the lack of treated water capacity, Dr Hafizan said: “Without taking into consideration how to control water source pollution, increasing plant capacity and clean water, restructuring would not amount to anything.”
He also expressed support for the plan to source water from Sungai Pahang for Selangor, especially since water from Sungai Pahang was not as polluted as rivers in Selangor.