Monday, August 1, 2011

Growing Population Depends on the Park

 It was interesting to read the findings, as reported in The Star newspaper, from the nationwide census conducted by the Statistics Department between July 6 and Aug 22, 2010. 

Based on the census findings, Selangor continued to be the most populated state, with 5.4 million or 19.3% of the country's population, followed by Johor with 3.3 million and Sabah at 3.2 million.  Putrajaya had the highest population growth during the 2000 to 2010 period, with 17.8%.

The findings also related that in tandem with the country's rapid development, the proportion of urban population increased to 71% in 2010 compared to 62% in 2000, with the highest levels of urbanization occurring in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Selangor and Penang.

Given the concentration of Malaysia’s population that is living in Selangor, KL and Putrajaya, and the growing urbanization of the area, it would be most prudent that the government carefully guards the natural resources that support and sustain this population.

The most basic and critical resource to supporting this population is water.  It would seem very unwise of the government to jeopardize even one drop of the existing water supply, as it is currently sufficient to meet the needs of the population. Other areas of the country are growing rapidly, too, so we cannot expect to be able to send all of the Peninsula’s water resource to the Klang Valley alone.  The federal government will already be sending water from Pahang to Selangor, through the nearly RM11 billion Selangor-Pahang raw water transfer project.  What happens when Johor needs more water, too?

Given that the Selangor State Park is the source of nearly 98% of the water supply for Selangor, KL and Putrajaya, it would seem irresponsible of the government to jeopardize the forests of the Park, that protect this water supply.  Only if the forests of the Park remain healthy and intact, can the Park can continue to feed the 5 main reservoirs that supply the bulk of our current water that is needed to meet our existing demands, not to mention our growing future needs.

That is why TrEES, together with a number of other NGOs and residents groups, are against the alignment of the KL Outer Ring Road, a highway that is planned to cut through 2 water catchment areas of the Park.  One area is the Klang Gates Reservoir, which is the source of clean water for the Golden Triangle, KL.  The second catchment forest affected is the Ampang Forest, which supplies clean water to residents in the Ampang area.

Yes, the traffic is bad on the MMR2.  A solution needs to be found.  But prioritizing a highway over our water supply seems an extremely poor solution. 

Water is so critical to our lives.  The government needs to manage our water resources with great care and prudence, if we want to make sure there is enough water for our growing population.

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