V. CASE STUDY: MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION OF FRESHWATER RESOURCES IN KUALA LUMPUR
A. Conservation and its objectives
Conservation is the process whereby biotic resources are preserved and sustained for use through renewal. Since human beings do not exist in ecological isolation, conservation recognizes that the use of natural resources is a legitimate activity of mankind. The application of conservation principles, however, ensures that renewable natural resources remain available for use for very prolonged periods, and that they are not wantonly depleted or destroyed. Thus the main reason for conservation is to provide for long-term sustainable development.
The main objectives of rational conservation practices are:
The maintenance of essential ecological processes;
It must be further emphasized that natural systems will collapse if they are mismanaged to the point where they are not ecologically sustainable, or degraded if they are used until they are only partially sustainable.
All the rivers in Kuala Lumpur have their sources in the neighbouring State of Selangor, with the middle reaches going through the city before flowing through Selangor again and out to the sea. In view of that intimate link, freshwater resources are not treated as a separate entity and are still managed by the Selangor Water Works Department. Nevertheless, the highly urban and developed nature of Kuala Lumpur has a major impact on the river systems as they pass through the city. Therefore it is important to consider the local effects, especially with regard to the utilization and management of the resource. Water supply plants serving Kuala Lumpur city are described briefly below.
The Bukit Nanas water treatment works is located in the hills of Bukit Nanas and draws its raw water from the Klang Gates impounding reservoir. The dam, constructed in 1955 on the upper reaches of the Klang River (Sungai Klang) just north of Kuala Lumpur, commands a catchment area of about 75 sq km in the Ulu Gombak forest reserve. The catchment is jungle-covered with hills rising to 1,220 metres. The capacity of the treatment works is about 173,000 cu m. per day.
This water treatment works was constructed in 1970. It is located near kilometre 13 on Gombak Road and draws its raw water from an intake constructed on the Sungai Gombak. It commands a catchment area of 44 sq km in the Ulu Gombak forest reserve. The catchment is steep, with jungle-covered hills rising to 1,220 metres. Capacity is about 40,900 cu m. per day.
Kepong Works was constructed before 1940. It draws raw water from an intake on the Sungai Keroh with a small catchment area and hence its daily capacity is relatively small.
Ampang Intake Works, constructed in 1902, draws its raw water from an intake on the upper reaches of the Sungai Ampang. It has a catchment area of 7x sq km in the Ampang forest reserve. The catchment is jungle covered and is steep, with hills rising to 610 metres. Normal capacity is 18,000 cu m. per day.
The treatment works draws its raw water from a 173,000 cu m. impounding reservoir constructed in 1892. As mentioned above, this is one of the earliest waterworks in the country. The reservoir is filled by a pipeline from the upper reaches of the Sungai Ampang, which commands a catchment area of about 5 sq km in the Ampang forest reserve. The works has a normal capacity of 2,270 cu m. per day.
Subang draws its water from an intake pumping installation on the Sungai Buloh, which commands a catchment area of 62 sq km. It consists of a forest reserve, rubber and oil palm estates, poultry farms and inhabited areas. The works was constructed in 1964 in the hills, and has a capacity of 6,545 cu m. per day. It was designed to supply water to Subang International Airport, as well as nearby townships and villages.
The Sungai Buloh Works, constructed around 1940, comprise a weir on one of the tributaries of the Sungai Buloh from which 1,590 cu m. are extracted to supply the nearby settlement only.
(h) Hamansara Works
The Damansara Works, located in the hills of Bukit Jelutong, draws its water from an intake on the Sungai Damansara, which commands a catchment area of 124 sq km. The catchment area comprises a forest reserve, rubber and oil palm estates, tin mines and inhabited areas. Damansara, which was constructed in 1965, has a capacity of about 45,454 cu m. per day. However, tin mining operations in the catchment area discharge a heavy silt load into the river which, in turn, gives problems at the intake and resulting in a lower normal daily capacity of about 40,900 cu m.
(i)North Hummock Works
The North Hummock Works, constructed in 1950 in the North Hummock Estate, draws raw water from the Subang impounding reservoir which has a storage capacity of about 3.5 million cu m. The catchment area covers 0.78 sq km in the Bukit Cherakah forest reserve, and comprises jungle with hills rising to about 90 metres. Raw water is also abstracted from the Sungai Buloh and the combined yield of the source is 24,500 cu m. per day.
The Cheras Works, constructed in 1963, extracts raw water from an intake on the Sungai Langat at Jalan Cheras. The catchment area is about 320 sq km. Two-thirds of the catchment is mountainous and jungle covered, rising to over 1,220 metres. The remainder of the area comprises rubber smallholdings and farmland including some ricefields. Raw water is pumped up to the treatment works located on the nearby hills east of the intake. Normal daily capacity is about 27,270 cu m.
In addition to the above waterworks, several other water treatment plants are located in and around the city of Kuala Lumpur, such as those at Sungai Midah, Jalan Kuchai and Petaling Hills. However, they are considered to be an expansion of the existing facilities and hence are not listed separately. In addition, the Sungai Buloh dam, which is nearing completion, should contribute noticeably to the city water supplies.