Malaysia is located in the tropical region, where there is abundant rainfall – about 2,500 – 5,000 mm of rainfall annually, which is channeled into the 2,986 rivers we have. The major role of rivers today is to provide clean water for the 25 million people currently living in Malaysia. Among the river basins, 30 of them are reservoirs and they supply 97% of the water throughout Malaysia. This is more than we need for consumption, yet we are facing water shortages, water supply disruptions and even water rationing during times of ‘drought’. The only reason is due to the poor management of our precious water resources.
Despite the importance of rivers as our main source of drinking water, many of our urban rivers today are heavily polluted with all sorts of chemicals and rubbish due to unsustainable development and improper management of rivers. Only 50% of our rivers remain ‘clean’, while the other 50% are polluted or considered ‘dead’ rivers.
With pollution of water sources arising to be one of our major issues, it is everyone's responsibilty to play a part and protect our water resources together.
Global Environment Centre (GEC) prides itself in being the first in Malaysia to introduce the concept of "Civic Science" as a way to approach community participation in river management. The concept applied is as follows:
Many projects emphasize on the awareness and knowledge, but what is lacking is the skill to take action on the issues that matter the most. By ensuring that people have the awareness, knowledge and skill, only then can they take action to fix the problems at hand. Through training the general public to become citizen scientists, they can take ownership of their nearby river basins to play a key part in protecting and conserving our rivers.