Water Journal : Water Journal February 2014
FEBRUARY 2014 WATER 29 Conference Report Although Malaysia is blessed with fairly abundant rainfall it still has its fair share of water woes, such as occasional droughts, ooding and pollution of its rivers and water bodies. In fact, the conference delegates were treated to a relatively minor example of ooding when a sudden and prolonged downpour caused the Klang River near the conference venue to rise more than 1m in less than two hours, causing signi cant traf c problems and localised ooding. Since the mid-1990s Malaysia has formally adopted IWRM as the way forward for sustainable management of the country's water resources. Sri Dato's paper described Malaysia's implementation of the IWRM Road Map and the measures currently being undertaken to effect the transformation of water supply and wastewater management services to achieve the strategic development goals in line with Vision 2020. Professor Mazlin Mokhtar from the Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI), National University of Malaysia, presented a passionate lecture on 'Risk Perception and Community Involvement: Challenges for Water Management'. He described Malaysia's journey over the last decade, and the growing concern about the condition of freshwater locally and, in fact, all over the world. In Malaysia much has been written on monitoring natural water quality, which can be considered as identifying risks; however, research on risk assessment and management is not as well developed. DAY TWO The second day of the conference commenced with Professor Dr Min Jang from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, describing his research on 'Porous Materials to Remediate Water Containing Heavy Metals'. This work has many environmental bene ts including remediation of acid mine drainage (AMD), where highly acidic aqueous solutions are formed through the chemical reaction of surface and shallow subsurface water with rocks containing sulfur- bearing minerals to produce sulfuric acid. Heavy metals can then be leached from rocks through contact with the acid. When AMD mixes with groundwater, surface water and soils, it may have harmful effects on humans, animals and plants. Dr Jang told of his work whereby coal-mine drainage sludge could be utilised for removing dissolved trace metals through adsorption and co-precipitation. This work also has signi cant potential to remediate water contaminated by arsenic, a signi cant issue on a global scale. This paper was a timely segue to that presented by Dr Magdalena Wajrak from Edith Cowan University, Australia. Dr Wajrak's paper, 'Validation of an In eld Voltametric Instrument, PDV6000+, for the Detection of Arsenic in Perth Groundwater Samples', provided a useful tool for accurate, simple and inexpensive eld measurement of arsenic and potentially other metals in real-world samples. Dato' Teo Yen Hua, from the Malaysian National Water Services Commission (SPAN), presented a paper on 'The Malaysian Water Sector Reform and Governance'. He described how the water services sector had gone through massive regulatory changes. The Federal Government's commitment to restructure the water industry led to the setting up of a national water services regulatory agency, which has the task of overseeing that the policy objectives of the restructuring exercise are achieved through ef cient and effective monitoring. Thus various regulatory instruments have been introduced by SPAN to assist water and sewerage operators in delivering services on a level playing eld, bene ting both consumers and the industry in general. On a different tack, Mr Robert Talintyre from Labman Automation Limited, UK, presented a lecture on 'Automation and Robotic Systems in Water Analysis'. He described a modern, fully automated laboratory where samples are received and processed automatically 24 hours per day. A model laboratory in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, provided a real- world example of these techniques in practice. The nal lecture of the day was 'Organochlorine Pesticides in Aquatic Environments: A Case Study of Cameron Highlands' by Md Pauzi Abdullah from the National University of Malaysia. Although the use of persistent organic pesticides (POPs), such as DDT, aldrin and heptachlor, has been banned in Malaysia since the early 1990s (although DDT is still permitted for use in malaria control), these POPs still occur in the environment. The results presented showed that there is a potential risk that some of these POPs could be recycled into the environment from the stream sediment deposits, particularly as a result of high ow events. CONCLUSION The 2013 ICWMM Conference was a valuable platform that gathered scientists from all around the world and provided valuable insights on the current issues associated with water and wastewater management not only in Malaysia, but also in other parts of the world. The coming together of scientists and those involved in advising policy makers provided an excellent opportunity for stimulating and informative discussions and presentations. Professor Mazlin Mokhtar stated in his talk that 'water is emotional'. This reinforced the importance of water to our lives and supports the fact that water is a precious resource, one that may gain a considerable emotive response from the general public. Factors such as climate change coupled with increasing population growth have led to an increase in demand for clean water. It is therefore vital that we come together and share our knowledge and experiences in water management and treatment to ensure clean water for all. There are important opportunities for academics, researchers and other scientists to collaborate with colleagues in Malaysia. Indeed, as AWA looks to South East Asia to expand its network, Malaysia would be a willing and capable partner to commence professional associations. THE AUTHORS Peter McCafferty (email: email@example.com. au) is Director, Scienti c Services Division, ChemCentre, Resources and Chemistry Precinct, Bentley, WA www. chemcentre.wa.gov.au and President of the AWA WA Branch. Malarvili Ramalingam is Scienti c Of cer at the Department of Chemistry (KIMIA), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Magdalena Wajrak is a Chemistry Lecturer at the School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA. Shanmuga S Kittappa is a Postgraduate Research Of cer at the Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Banquet attendees (from left) Professor Yang Farina Abdul Aziz, Professor Min Jang, Shanmuga S Kitiapapa, Dr Malarvilli Ramalingnam, Peter McCafferty, Fay Fiona Constantine Limbai, Dr Magdalena Wajrak and Professor Shane Snyder.
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