II. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF DEVELOPMENT
C. Water scarcity
Access to water remains an urgent human requirement in many countries. Generally, there are three issues related to the lack of access. First, river water around cities in developing countries is increasingly being contaminated and water quality is so poor that it is unusable for drinking. Second, there is strong competition for local water resources which are often completely utilized by several sectors, while dry-season water supplies are particularly scarce. Finally, the water distribution system expansion programmes are not kept in phase with urban expansion (Gunaratnam, 1995). In general, Malaysia receives a great deal of rain. However, despite the enormous amounts of water that are available, some areas of the city face a water scarcity problem. The distribution system rather than water availability is considered to be the problem.However, the public and the mass media has blamed the problem on dry catchment areas/decreased local water levels in the urban areas which are controlled by the Water Supply Department of the State of Selangor. This is credible in the case of Kuala Lumpur where water distribution expansion and water levels have not been kept in phase with the rapid expansion of the city. Most catchment areas are in the State of Selangor, where the rapid rate of growth will result in competition for water supplies and a lower priority for Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan, 1984). The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur needs to identify other sources of water such as groundwater or rainwater from catchment areas within the city.