Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has proposed that groundwater be developed as an alternative, so as to prepare for prolonged periods of drought in Selangor.
The Selangor Sultan said the country was too reliant on surface water sources like rivers, lakes and dams.
“If we are too reliant on surface water sources, consumers will be affected if there is a prolonged drought,” he said, citing examples of water shortages experienced in Selangor, Malacca and Labuan.
Addressing the Institute of Geology Malaysia (IGM) Outreach Programme themed “Groundwater: What, Why, Where and How?” conference here yesterday, the Ruler said groundwater was less exposed to pollution and contained more minerals and micronutrients beneficial to human health.
Nevertheless, he cautioned that the extraction and usage of groundwater sources would have to be controlled as overdrafting (excessive extraction) could cause the surrounding land to “sink”.
IGM president Datuk Yunus Abdul Razak said geologists determined the depth and location of wells in areas which are dependent on groundwater for their water supply.
National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia director and groundwater specialist Dr Saim Suratman said Selangor utilised a vast amount of groundwater for its industries.
He said while there were areas in the Langat basin (south of Kuala Lumpur surrounding the Langat River) with significant potential for further groundwater development, more exploration was needed to understand the groundwater system within those areas.
According to the Minerals and Geoscience Department, less than 3 per cent of the country’s clean water supply came from groundwater sources.