Friday, March 25, 2016

Protect Freshwater Before It is Too Late

In Malaysia, we are fortunate to receive an abundance of rainfall, averaging from 2,000mm to 4,000mm annually. Having plentiful rainfall each year, many of us may not understand or appreciate where the water that flows from our taps really comes from.

Did you know that 97% of all the water on earth is actually salt water ? With only a small proportion of freshwater left, even then 2/3 of that is unavailable for our use because it is frozen in glaciers and ice sheets. As a result, we only have access to about 1% of freshwater and this little amount is all we have to meet the needs of more than 7 billion people on the planet.

Most of our water resources starts its incredible journey in a catchment area long before it reach the water taps in our houses.

A water catchment is an area where water primarily from rainfall is collected by the landscape such as highland forests and hills. It will then feed the water into streams and rivers that flow through the area.

Our highland forests such as Fraser's Hill and Ulu Muda in Peninsual Malaysia and Upper Baleh in Sarawak are some of the prime water catchment areas that play a vital role in supplying clean water to the population within the respective areas.

Unfortunately, we are faced with external factors which threaten the well-being of the freshwater ecosystem, such as :
  • Unsustainable highland development
  • Deforestation
  • Slopes clearing
  • Pollution to rivers  

WWF-Malaysia is hard at work towards addressing the threats and issues through various conservation initiatives, such as:

  1. Youth engagement

    "Love Our Rivers" drawing and storyboard competition from Mar 2014 to Dec 2015.

  2. River Ranger programme

    9-month programme that was launched in collaboration with Community Development Unit of Ranau's local district office in Dec 2015. The purpose is to train local communities living near Sugut River in Sabah as River Rangers who will be the guardians of the river within their area.

  3. Sustainable hydropower development at Upper Baleh, Sarawak

    Joint scientific expedition with the Forest Department of Sarawak, the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation from University of Malaysia Sarawak and Sarawak Energy Berhad.

Source: WWF-Malaysia : 51236/W43210

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