World Water Day 2009
12 April 2009
This year, 2009, Water Watch Penang with support from Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP Sdn Bhd) was oragnised the World Water Day celebrations on 12 April 2009 (Sunday) at the Penang Botanic Garden. Once again, the Honourable Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng officially open the celebrations and give away the prizes.
Facts About World Water Day
(1) History and significance of celebrating WWD
World Water Day is celebrated on 22 March of every year. Each celebration follows a different theme to reflect the many facets of freshwater resources, and a different United Nations agency is selected to coordinate events around the world. The decade 2005-2015 is declared decade of “Water For Life” and it is this theme that Water Watch Penang will focus on this year.
(2) Why the theme “Coping with Water Scarcity”?
Water Scarcity is a world-wide problem-globally, 2.6 billion people have no access to proper sanitation. The 1.1 billion people who don't have clean water use about 1.3 gallons a day, compared with the 40 gallons used by average Americans, the planet's biggest water guzzlers. Figure 1 shows how lucky Malaysians are: Our per capita renewable water is about 20,000 cubic metres per year. That means every Malaysian has about 20,000 cubic metres of water to use per year. The International Stress Line is 1,700 cubic metres per year. Malaysians have about 12 times that amount. In contrast, countries like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, UAE & Jordan all have per capita renewable water below the International Stress Line! So, a lot of countries are water stressed and now we know why the UN has designated WWD 2007’s theme as “Coping with water scarcity”. This is because a lot of countries in the world have to cope and manage with very little water. If they do not cope well, they will be in serious trouble.
Climate Change may affect rainfall/water Malaysia – Recently, there was a Big Scare about an impending El Nino. One day it was devastating floods in Johor, and the next before the Johor floods were over, came the warning of El Nino and drought. The DG of DID had to reassure everyone that the DID may move the planting season backwards if El Nino struck so that we may have enough water. But as it happened, the current El Nino was not as bad as it seems. It was a mild one. Nevertheless climate change is real. Due to climate change, we in Malaysia may experience more rain during the wet season (therefore more floods…like in Johor 2006/7) and less rain during the dry season (more droughts), and the El Nino may be more unpredictable (1997/98 El Nino was terrible – KL, Selangor affected, Penang also in Balik Pulau). So, in future some places in Malaysia may experience water scarcity during some parts of the year. So, we have to be prepared for it.
(3) Become a Responsible Citizen – Not “Kiasu” PenangitePenangite must be responsible:
- Responsible to our Country & State – Being responsible to our country means not committing anything illegal. Now I am not talking about dealing in drugs, smuggling, killing, secret societies, becoming an Ah Long or his Side-Kick, get involved with gambling or other vices, etc. I am talking about small vices such as breaking minor laws and rules, like traffic offences, making public toilets dirtier than before we use them, driving like a maniac on the road, cutting queues, giving bribes or worse taking bribes, etc. If we commit even these minor offences, even if we are not put into jail, we are not responsible citizens.
- Responsible to our families – give our loved ones our love, our time, our care, our money. Don’t be selfish and spend all our money on ourselves – e.g. splash it on a new car, a holiday abroad, gamble it away, or drink & be merry with fair weather friends. That is not being responsible to our families.
- To our work/jobs – work hard and do not cheat. Your hard work will be noticed, so will your cheating.
- Finally we have to be responsible to nature - in what we do in our daily lives:
(i) What we eat & how we eat – how much waste do we produce? Do we use plastic bags, Styrofoam/Polystyrene containers, etc.
(ii) How much electricity we consume? Do we practice energy saving? In our own house Yes, elsewhere when we do not pay NO?
(iii) Do we plan our trips to town or car-pool? Do we take public transportation? Do we bicycle or walk when our destination is nearby?
(iv) Do we know how much water we use? Do we practice any water saving techniques? We can save a lot of water if all Penangites try to save water & reduce their water use by just 10 %. That means “Flush Once Less Per Day”- 1 person = 9 litres per day X 1.5 million penangites = 13.5 million litres per day or 405 million litres per month or 4,860 million litres per year. This amount is equivalent to 2 Air Itam Dams (2,600 million litres capacity)!
@Water Watch Penang, Organisers of the event