You can play a part to safeguard the future of our freshwater sources. Your donation today will help us to continue with our conservation efforts to keep our freshwater clean and flowing for future generations.
Do you know where your water comes from?
Well, let’s discover the journey of water. Water begins its extensive journey from the water catchment forests which is an area of land such as highland forests and hills that collects rainfall. Sploshing and splashing, the water will then be fed into streams and rivers that flow through the area. As the water continues its journey downstream, it will be taken from the streams and rivers via intake points into pipes, which is then channelled to water treatment plants to be filtered and disinfected. From here, the treated water is delivered through a network of pipes to our homes for safe consumption. Finally, this clean water is then used for our domestic and industrial use
So as you can see, water that comes out of our taps is directly linked to how well we manage our water sources – the water catchment forests and rivers. Hence, improved protection and management of these water sources are vital. Additionally, each of us as consumers too, have a role and responsibility in managing our daily water usage wisely and not taking this precious resource for granted.
Water catchment forests are valuable because of the important roles they play such as:-
- Natural water towers that are crucial in providing us with continuous supply of clean water;
- In Malaysia, more than 90 per cent of our water supply comes from rivers that originate in highland forests;
- Forests on highland slopes are vital in preventing landslides and massive floods; and
- Rich in rare plant and animal species.
What happens when water catchment forests are not protected? The following are some of the threats and challenges faced by water catchment forests:-
- Unsustainable highland development
Poor management of highland forests and incompatible development activities in the highlands result in forest clearing on sensitive steep slopes. When trees are cut down, this natural “sponge” is no longer able to protect the ground. This leads to erosion whereby the soil is washed away with rain causing landslides and flash floods.
- Climate change
Increasing temperature could lead to a decrease in cloud formation in the highlands which may reduce the availability and amount of water that contributes to the water supply in some of the towns and cities in Malaysia.
Together, let’s invest in the future of our water catchment areas!
What’s a river worth? Well, rivers play significant roles in our lives such as:-
- Providing us with water supply and food such as fish
- Providing transportation routes for purposes such as commerce and recreation;
- Generating electricity through hydroelectric power dams;
- Providing water for irrigating agricultural land;
- Home to various kinds of animals, fish, insects and plants; and
- Used for recreational purpose such as tourism, sports and education.
Yet, despite the vital roles that river play, they face numerous threats and challenges such as follows:-
- Illegal fishing methods
- Degradation of forest corridors along riverbanks
- Excessive and inefficient water usage
WWF-Malaysia advocates for integrated management of freshwater initiatives that focuses on 3 areas which are conserving river basins, sustainable water use and conserving freshwater habitats. These are implemented in our various freshwater conservation efforts such as follows:-
WWF-Malaysia undertakes freshwater conservation efforts by working towards addressing the threats and issues on our water sources. These include the following:-
- Training local communities living near to Sungai Sugut in Sabah to be the guardians of the river within their area through the River Ranger programme;
- Advocating for sustainable hydropower development such as in Upper Baleh, Sarawak;
- Engaging the youths to raise awareness on the importance of healthy rivers such as through the ‘Love Our Rivers’ drawing and storyboard competition;
- Working with relevant partners including authorities to conserve freshwater ecosystems by advocating for better protection of important water catchment areas and implementation of Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) in key river basins.
- Partnering with businesses such as HSBC Global Banking and Markets. This partnership involves providing HSBC employees the opportunity to participate in meaningful staff engagement programmes. This includes providing them knowledge about water footprint and water consumption issues as well as water conservation actions they can take, besides getting hands on experience in conservation activities such as river water quality monitoring.
Using water efficiently reduces water demand and pressure our freshwater resources. Here are some of the practical ways you can do to make a difference:-
- Turn off the tap. Don’t let the water run while shaving, brushing teeth or scrubbing your dishes.
- Take short showers instead of a bath. Cutting a minute off your shower could save approximately seven litres of water.
- Collect rainwater and use it to water plants or for any other external use.
- Wash full loads of laundry to save the water and electricity usage.