KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 – It is estimated that Malaysia has 5,000 bilion cubic metres of groundwater which is still untouched. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Institute of Environmental & Water Resource Management (IPASA) director Professor Dr Abdull Rahim Mohd Yusoff said the amount was arrived at based on a study by the Japanese International Corporation Agency in 1982. “But until today only three percent of the resource is utilised. In fact, according to a study by the Drainage and Irrigation Department, seven percent or 64 billion cubic metres of the annual rainfall is stored underground. “I feel we are not really exploiting our groundwater. I think it has a very big potential in tackling the water crisis because we only use three percent to date,” he said when contacted by Bernama recently.
Abdull Rahim said groundwater was safe for use and was of higher quality than surface water. “It is safe for use because it is rain water which has been absorbed into the ground. I am also confident it is not exposed to pollution because it is found 50 metres to 100 metres underground,” he added. He said groundwater was extracted using tube wells and the Riverbank Filtration System which were more cost effective compared to the desalination method for treating sea water. In the tube well method, a special machine capable of boring a narrow tunnel more than 100 metres into the ground is used while the Riverbank Filtration System is the extraction of water from under the river bed. He also suggested that groundwater be used as a water reserve when faced with drought, if it was not used as the nation’s main source of water. Abdull Rahim said, to date, only Kelantan was using in excess of 50 percent of its groundwater.