Goals of Water Environment Conservation
In Malaysia, environmental acts and regulations were established in 1970's. "Environmental Quality Act 1974" is an act related to the prevention, abatement, control of pollution and enhancement of the environment. Under this act, the Minister after consultation with the Environmental Quality Council elaborates regulations for prescribing ambient water quality standards which are applied to surface waters and marine waters. "The Environmental Quality (Sewage and Industrial Effluents) Regulations 1979" was also established under the act to prescribe discharge standards.
Water Quality Standards for Surface Water
The National Water Quality Standards, which is applied to surface waters, ordains standard values of 72 parameters in 6 water use classes. The goal is not to meet the standards of the certain water class in all surface waters, but to improve water quality gradually in order to meet the standards of the better water class than the actual.
Table 1. Water Use Classes in the National Water Quality Standards
||Conservation of natural environment water supply 1 - practically no treatment necessary.
Fishery 1 - very sensitive aquatic species
||Water Supply II - conventional treatment required
Fishery ll - sensitive aquatic species
||Recreational use with body contact
||Water Supply lll - extensive treatment required
Fishery lll - common, of economic value, and tolerant species livestock drinking
||None of the above
Water Quality Standards for Marine Water
The Marine Water Quality Standards, which ordains standards values of 9 parameters, is in review now. The Standards is reviewed so as to cover other parameters and reexamine the standard values which is not practically possible to comply.
Water Quality Standards for Groundwater
The Ground Water Quality Standards for Malaysia is still not established, but considering potential of groundwater as an alternative source for surface water, DOE had started the National Groundwater Monitoring Programme to determine the groundwater quality status. Since the standards is still not established, the groundwater quality status was determined based on the National Guidelines for Raw Water Quality as the benchmark.
Malaysia has set out its Vision 2020 to be a fully developed nation by the Year 2020. However, the goal and time limit to improve water environment has yet to be established.