Malaysia to quench its thirst with underground water reserves

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 03 Jul 2019

SHAH ALAM: Malaysia will be able to weather dry spells and droughts with its huge amounts of yet-to-be extracted underground water, says Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jaya­kumar.

Malaysia is blessed with some five trillion cubic metres of groundwater, he said.

“The only thing is that we are not sure yet where (these reserves) are concentrated,’’ Dr Xavier told a press conference after launching the inaugural National Groundwater Conference 2019 here yesterday.

He said Malaysia was set to use Japanese technology to map its underground water sources.

But he pointed out other issues, including regulations needed to be in place before underground water could be extracted for use.

“We don’t have the regulations in place and so we are, at the same time, also regulating and formulating laws that need to be put into place as far as underground water usage is concerned,’’ he added.

Dr Xavier said Malaysia had turned to Japan for help because the country had expertise in extracting underground water.

During a visit to Japan, Dr Xavier said he found there were cities there wholly using underground water for household, farming and industrial needs.

He said the government wanted sustainable underground water use and Malaysia was in a position to use the best practices available.

Earlier in his speech, Dr Xavier said only a tiny fraction of Malaysia’s massive amount of underground water was being used, with the bulk of the nation’s supply coming from surface water.

“Denmark has 100% groundwater utilisation, Austria 98%, Thai­land 80%, China 78%, USA 50%, but Malaysia has less than 3%,” he said.

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