ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor is facing a major water crisis if it relies on existing resources and does not start exploring new alternatives.
“The time has come for Johor to explore underground water reserves and harvest rainwater on a large scale,” said state Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad at the state assembly sitting here yesterday.
He was replying to a question from Datuk Syed Sis Syed Abdul Rahman (BN-Tanjung Surat) on the progress made by the state authorities on exploring new water resources.
Hasni said Johor was too dependent on surface water that supplied 99% of consumption, with only 1% from underground water.
“We are working with two universities in Johor and the Japan Water Forum to conduct research on underground water reserves in the state,” said Hasni.
He said the state government had allocated RM1mil to identify several locations in Johor where exploration for underground water reserves could be conducted next year.
It is part of the RM79.7mil allocation under the state’s Budget 2017 for 14 initiatives to develop sustainable water management in Johor.
He said the state would be adopting Japan’s Kumamoto City in Kumamoto prefecture as the model where some 780,000 residents had used underground water for more than 20 years.
“We will be conducting an in-depth study on the potential usage of underground water with an expert from Kumamoto for a master plan on its usage until 2050,” added Hasni.
He said the state government would also look at other options, including building desalination plants for new development projects along the coastal areas and those located far from existing water supply facilities.
Hasni said the developer of the multi-billion ringgit Forest City project in Gelang Patah was required to build a desalination plant because of the scale of the project.