V. CASE STUDY: MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION OF FRESHWATER RESOURCES IN KUALA LUMPUR
C. Protection of water quality and habitats
3. Groundwater supply
As indicated above, the present water supply of Kuala Lumpur is totally dependent on surface water and only a negligible amount of groundwater. However, the time may come when groundwater resources become an important water source, and some consideration should be given to that possibility before there is no longer any land left that is suitable for groundwater extraction. The problem, at present, appears to be a complete absence of specific legislation in relation to groundwater, at either the federal or State levels. Ownership of groundwater appears to be associated with State land ownership laws. Two fundamental issues need to be addressed: the question of ownership or rights to use groundwater is not as important as the question of rights regarding the control and regulation of groundwater. Without control, the development of groundwater resources will occur in an unrestricted way (when need arises later) and the resource itself may become temporarily or permanently degraded by contamination or excessive extraction.
The uncontrolled development of groundwater commonly stems from two factors:
In fact, groundwater development has already occurred in some areas where reticulated water supplies are inadequate, or where they are subject to periodic restrictions, for example, in Selangor. Greater use of groundwater might already have been made if the resource had not been contaminated by poor well construction and development practices. Similarly, in areas where traditional water supply sources are becoming contaminated or depleted, groundwater development can be expected to occur at a dramatic rate once the presence of the resource is established. Those situations have been met in some parts of the world through legislative procedures at an appropriate level which vest a specific expert government body with control over, not ownership of, the resource.