Thursday 7 January 2010

The Water Issue

More Malaysians are aware and concern about the issue of water supply and management of water resources by judging from the attendance at forum on water this morning. Organised by ACCA, ICR Malaysia and Malaysian Water Association, the forum with the theme Business and Water: Should We Be Concerned was officiated by Norisah Kasnon, Deputy Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water.

The panellists of the forum were Tay Kay Luan, Director - ASEAN & Australasia ACCA, Ahmad Zahdi Jamil, President of the MWA, Detlef Krost, Executive Director for Production, Nestle, Dato' Teoh Yen Hua, the CEO of National Water Commission and Professor Carol Adams, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law and Management La Trobe University, Australia.

Among the issues that were discussed was the relative ignorant of the people on the need to conserve water. This is due to the fact that water is supplied at a cheap and subsidised prices. Malaysians generally consume relatively high amount of water per capita compared to those in the developed country.

The other concern that was discussed was the implication of disruption of water supply to business. While business may assume that they would get the continuous supply of water at a cheap price, experience overseas such as Australia has demonstrated that it could be a major problem to business. Nestle, for example, takes this issue seriously and ensure that its operations are water efficient and practices water conservation throughout its global operations.

The issue of water quality was raised resulting the CEO of the National Water Commission defending the portability of our water supply. He said that he has no problem of drinking water directly from the tap. I suppose the National Water Commission should establish a standard operation procedure of serving tap water to all their staff and visitors given the high confidence in the quality of water by the CEO.

Ultimately, we the Rakyat, has to change our behaviour towards water usage and start conserving water and water sources so that we could avoid future disasters. The regulator should ensure policies and decisions are made solely on the best interest of the people and avoid the repeat of becoming Santa Claus to selected operators. The water operators themselves should be honest in ensuring the water supplied meets minimum standards and operate at the utmost efficient way to ensure the public do not need to pay for their efficiency.

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