Rainwater harvesting for homes

Way to save water: Subramaniam (right) asking Bacfree Engineer Eda Salma Mohd Suib (left) about the filteration product at the Rainwater Harvesting Forum &Exhibition at MBPJ Civic Centre. Looking on is Tiew.

AS of the end of 2011, a total of 418 residential and commercial development pro-jects in Petaling Jaya have been approved with the requirement to install a rainwater harvesting system.

It is a statutory regulation under the Uniform Building By-laws 1984, which makes it mandatory for residential buildings to implement the rainwater harvesting system.

This is part of Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)’s move to promote sustainable development through their local agenda 21 initiative.

“Water conservation and river rehabilitation has always been an area of focus for the council to work on,” said councillor Tiew Way Keng when opening the Rainwater Harvesting Forum and Exhibition at MBPJ Civic Centre.

MBPJ, the Water Association of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (SWAN) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) collaborated to hold the forum and exhibition themed “Practices and Issues”, which was also complemented with an exhibition to showcase products and services related to rainwater harvesting for public view.

According to Tiew, MBPJ has collaborated with the environmental NGOs and other government agencies to organise programmes on rehabilitating Sungai Penchala and Sungai Way, raising public awareness and capacity on rain water harvesting and conserving lakes at urban parks.

“These efforts were further enhanced since the adoption of the Low-Carbon Green City framework by MBPJ as a guiding principle in 2010,” she said.

In September 2010, MBPJ passed a policy requesting all project submissions for development, regardless of the scale and size, for installing the rainwater harvesting system.

These include detached bungalow houses as well as commercial buildings and institutions. As of last year, 418 projects have been conditioned for installing the system.

“The implementation however is not without hesitation and resistance from the public. The Housing and Local Government Ministry has also cautioned us about carrying out this ruling without the backing of the legal provision. MBPJ has kept the requirement as a mandatory provision in any development.”

SWAN deputy president V.Subramaniam said based on the good response, SWAN would continue to hold similar forums among other communities to further promote rainwater harvesting. More than 150 participants attended the forum.

“Rainwater harvesting is not a new concept. But we in Malaysia take our water supply for granted. We are blessed with plenty of rain and but we don’t do enough to save water. With today’s event we hope to have a fruitful exchange of ideas in the practice of rainwater harvesting,” said Subrama-niam.

The exhibition also promoted the practice of rainwater harvesting as it is important because it could reduce flooding, reduce the load at treated plants and reduce the run off water from going into the sewers and storm drains.

Meanwhile, Tiew said MBPJ would also reward up to 25% rebate for property assessment taxes for those installing rainwater harvesting system under the council’s assessment rebate scheme for house owners.

The Low-Carbon Green Rebate Assessment Scheme, which began last year, is aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of Petaling Jaya’s denizens by curbing water and electricity wastage. The rebate scheme is open to both residential and commercial properties.

Applicants who submit their claims for rebates will be assessed by a panel comprising five members who are experts on environmental issues.

There are nine items on the checklist, including installing rain harvester, composting and owning a hybrid car, to be fulfilled in order to obtain the maximum rebate of RM500.

Petaling Jaya One-Stop Centre chief Lee Lih Shyan said they received 71 applications this year compared to last year’s 49 applications.

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