PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Several areas in eight Malaysian states and Kuala Lumpur are 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 World Resources Institute (WRI), which developed the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, has projected a 1.4-fold increase in water stress levels for some areas in Kedah, Penang, Kelantan, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Johor by 2020.
This is a 1.4-fold increase in water stress currently experienced by these places.
Kuah, in Kedah, is expected to come under a two-fold increase in the water stress level.
The projected change shows how development and climate change are expected to affect water stress in the country.
This is measured in a "business as usual" scenario, which represents a world with stable economic development and steadily rising global carbon emissions, said WRI.
Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) president S. Piarapakaran said development and densely populated areas were reasons for increased water demand in these places.
He added that an increase in population but decrease in resources could cause water-related stress.
"If you look at the equilibrium, we have sufficient water but some rivers are polluted so this also poses a risk," said Piarapakaran.
SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said water-related stress could dent the SME industry, especially the food manufacturing industry.
Kang said SMEs and the Government should start taking management and preventive measures for the future, should there be water shortage or rationing.
"Within the SMEs, they should know how to save water and fully utilise it. They can recycle water, collect rain water or have reserve.
"For example, some mixed concrete factories in China have ways of recycling water so it is not discharged outside. This is also environmentally friendly," he added.
Kang said it was vital for SMEs to upgrade and improve themselves, adding that some members had slowly started taking proactive measures to face such challenges.
In 2014, Selangor was among the states that was hit by the worst water crisis since 1998. With dam levels falling to critical levels, water rationing was imposed in the Klang Valley. Businesses were also affected badly due to the water shortage.