Water is one of the fundamental elements that supports life and forms part of the resources that influence human economic development. Water is not readily available in some parts of Malaysia and its abundance is largely determined by climatic changes, geographical positions and political environment to some extent (Yong, 2004).
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The world today is facing a serious fresh water crisis due to the pressure exerted on water catchment areas of the ever-growing population. Research shows that the majority of highly populated regions have a high water shortage (Renganathan, 2000).
In Malaysia, the Integrated Water Resources Management, IWRM was introduced in the early 1990s being the sole water management initiative in the country (Global Water intelligence, 2003). It led to the formation of management groups later in 1997 such as Malaysia water partnership My WP, and later the Malaysia capacity building network for IWRM, MyCapNet (Clark, 1991).
Water sustainability in Malaysia is very well covered in a number of policies. In Sabah, the local authorities have put in place plans to enhance and mange forest sustainability such as the integration of the river basin management plans (Chan, 2000).
These will greatly improve the quality of the state’s water supply as well as enhance sustainable water management, hence, stabilizing water supply. Integration of the river basin will also ensure that land, water, and biodiversity are protected for the benefit of the locals. Borneo, an island in the state, is characterized by biodiversity.
The state has formed platforms to engage the non-governmental organizations as well as the locals to address the issues that affect the environment. All the measures are aimed at protecting and preserving natural resources to avoid extinction, which can have adverse effects on the livelihood of the locals.
These initiatives also have improved the quality of life for the locals hence increasing the life expectancy. The management plan includes guidelines on how to return wastewater to the environment (Chan, 2000). It also engages protecting and rehabilitating water catchment areas.
To show its commitment, Malaysia is a signatory to a number of environmental conservation declarations. One of them is the international conference on water and the environment in Dublin in the year 1992 (Renganathan, 2000). Others include the earth summit, world water forums to mention but a few (Global Water intelligence, 2003).
The department of drainage and irrigation is the major custodian of the IWRM implementation working together with the My WP (Yong, 2004). The country has made remarkable progress in implanting their initiative and the benefits are immense.
The local villagers can take an opportunity provided by the water conservation programs and increase their economic activities through agriculture. With a sustainable water supply, farmers in the village will not have to depend on seasonal rains to farm.
To enhance the village’s life expectancy requires a full implementation of the water management policies and innovative economic activities that take advantage of the available water. Protecting water catchment areas and forest increases the life expectancy by a reasonable percentage since fresh and clean water enhances good health.
Water is the source of life even for a crop, creating a cycle of dependency between plants and animals. Therefore, sustainable farming can be well supported by these initiatives hence improving the economic status of the locals. Farming is one of the most feasible economic activities for them.
Chan, N. W. (2000c) Current Environmental Issues in Malaysia. Web.
Clark, R. (1991) Water: The International Crisis. Web.
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Global Water intelligence, (2003). The Malaysian government to manage water supply projects. Market-Leading Analysis of the International Water Industry, 4 (9), 1.
Renganathan, M. (2000). Taking Care of Water, the Responsibility of All. Web.
Yong, F. T. (2004). Water Engineering. Bulletin Ingenieur, 22 (01), 56-86.