Malaysia perceived to be a water rich nation as it receives abundant amount of rain every year and currently has sufficient water resources to meet its needs. Several areas in eight states and Kuala Lumpur expected to be under increased risk of water issues by the year 2020, despite Malaysia being located in the tropical zone, which receives high rainfall.
The importance of rivers not prioritized simply because water is so cheap and is so readily available. As such, river education programmes is important to highlight the importance of rivers and provide the knowledge and capacity to the local community to take ownership of their local rivers.
Sg. Kinta RIVER Education Programme which was a three years project funded by GAB Foundation in partnership with Global Environment Centre (GEC) was implemented from April 2012- April 2015. The programme focuses on addressing pollution issues and on engaging the targeted communities along the industries, schools, and residents of selected tributaries of Sg. Kinta. The project was a success in achieving the proposed targets and as an appreciation for the commitments and the support received from the stakeholders, GAB Foundation has decided to extend the implementation of the programme until end of 2017. This is to empower more community as project leaders and support their outreach programmes. One of the key focuses will be to produce youth as the project leaders from either local communities or learning institutions.
Sungai Kinta is an important source of water supply but it is a critical resource for consumption and production in Ipoh. Sg. Kinta's main function is for water supply. Unfortunately, improper and inefficient management resulted in a range of water related problems like flooding, lack of recreational areas with clean water resources and increase in waterborne diseases. The quality of water supply is reducing due to the wastage in water usage and industrial, domestic & sewage pollution. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address these issues and to engage the target communities including industries, schools and residents.
Sungai Kinta is a river identified for rehabilitation under JPS Perak’s ‘1 State 1 River’ rogramme. Although Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Perak has already undertaken rehabilitation work for Sg Kinta, their biggest challenge is changing mindsets and behaviours of the surrounding communities. JPS acknowledged that ‘education’ was the missing link in ensuring the sustainability of Sg. Kinta rehabilitation efforts and approached us for help in engaging and educating the communities.