W.A.T.E.R (Working Actively Through Education and Rehabilitation) Project organised its third annual Training of Trainers programme as part of its River Care Education initiative.
The project aims to promote river conservation by empowering communities of Sungai Penchala with best practices to safeguard the quality of rivers and the environment.
The W.A.T.E.R Project is a joint collaboration between GAB Foundation and the Global Environment Centre (GEC) with support from the Drainage and Irrigation Department. The half-day training session saw 20 members of the SS20, Section 14, Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara and Block 1 Desa Mentari communities participate in various activities, including pollution mapping, river water quality monitoring and community garden visit.
Elaborating on the initiative, GAB Foundation trustee Renuka Indrarajah said, “As a foundation, we aim to spark positive change through impactful initiatives such as the River Care Education Programme to enrich communities and truly make a difference.
“We recognise the immensely important role water plays, not only in our daily operations but in the lives of every individual.
“We are committed to making the W.A.T.E.R Project a continuing success and will expand it into even more communities in the area over the coming years,” she said.
The Training of Trainers in Sungai Penchala was initiated in 2015 and is designed to directly engage with the communities within the Penchala river basin.
Having engaged with communities both upstream and downstream of Sungai Penchala over the past two years, including residents of Desa Mentari, Perumahan Awan Bukit Kiara and TTDI, this year’s session was focused on midstream communities.
GEC river care coordinator Dr Kalithasan Kailasam said, “The Training of Trainers initiative is a vital component of the W.A.T.E.R Project’s River Education Programme to encourage local communities to integrate river conservation and waste management best practices into their daily lives.
“It is critical to safeguard the water quality of our rivers and manage waste correctly to mitigate river pollution.
“There must be increased efforts by everyone to sustainably manage the waste, particularly used cooking oil, to safeguard our water bodies, especially rivers,” he added.
The foundation has invested more than RM6.8mil in the W.A.T.E.R Project since its introduction in 2007, educating and engaging with more than 30,000 people to conserve key water sources around the country.
The project has played an integral role in improving the quality of rivers, including that of Sungai Penchala which now stands at Class III-IV, capable of acting as an alternative water supply for non-consumption purposes and sustaining aquatic life.
The recently organised Training of Trainers programme offered participants an overview of the W.A.T.E.R Project and a tour of the nearby Desa Mentari residential area to view first-hand some of the many initiatives that the community has undertaken to optimise water usage, including rainwater harvesting, urban gardening, recycling and composting.
The event was supported by Petaling Jaya City Council, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Selangor Depart-ment of Environment, Selangor Town Planning Department and Indah Water Konsortium.
Speaking on his experience during the programme, Selva, a community representative from Section 14, said, “The programme has opened my eyes to the critical condition of our rivers and enlightened me on the importance of conservation so that we can maintain our way of life.”