1998/1999 Report

PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON WATER WATCH ACTIVITIES 1998/99

(1) PUBLICATION OF WATER WORKBOOK ?Water Watch: A Community Action Guide? ? 18 June 1998 This book was published jointly with the Asia-Pacific People?s Environment Network (APPEN) under the advice of Water Watch Asia (with WWP as the secretariat in Penang). The book was launched on 18 June 1998 at the Chief Minister of Penang YAB Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon?s office on Level 28, KOMTAR Penang. The book is a manual for civic participation and monitoring in the Asia Pacific Region. (2) INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP "FROM UNDERSTANDING TO ACTION", 24 - 25 SEPTEMBER 1998, GLAND, SWITZERLAND. Dr Chan Ngai Weng represented WWP at this workshop for water-related NGOs and presented a paper titled Water Watch Penang: The Role of NGOs in the Management and Conservation of Water Resources in Penang. Sponsored by Convention on Wetlands, Ramsar, Iran, 1971. There were about 50 participants in this workshop, mostly NGOs but a significant number of UN staff. The benefits of this workshop are: * Networking with other NGOs, particularly foreign ones. * Funding options. * Learning from one another. * Projecting WWP internationally, e.g. with RAMSAR, IUCN, UNESCO, WWF etc. * Promoting Penang internationally. * Awarenes of happenings and new developments. (3) CARING FOR OUR RIVERS CAMPAIGN - 13 MARCH 1999, 4.00 - 5.00 PM, LOT B-1-13, KOMPLEKS MASYARAKAT PENYAYANG, JALAN UTAMA, PENANG. This is part of WWP's continuous education programme to instil awareness and love for our rivers. It is organised jointly with the Malaysian Nature Society (Penang Branch). The event was well received as about 20 participants with ages ranging from 3 to 60 took part. The president led the group in the "River Walk" along the banks of the Sg Air Terjun behind the Kompleks Penyayang (Photograph 1). The group was instructed on the importance of water conservation and hence the need to keep our rivers clean. The group was then treated to some basic water monitoring exercises where participants conducted themselves in the river. The kids as well as adults enjoyed this exercise tremendously. The objective is to get one school to adopt a river or part/section of a river and monitor the "Health" of the river via simple indicators such as the physical characteristics (velocity and discharge, cross-section area of river channel, temperature, colour, turbidity, presence of rubbish, smell/odour, flowing or stagnant water), the biological characteristics (presence of aquatic weeds, fish, and other aquatic wildlife) and the chemical characteristics (pH, Dissolved Oxygen and Conductivity). Because participants actually get into the river to perform various tasks, they really enjoyed themselves. Hence there is potential in this sort of activity. WWP will plan for more river walks in future and get more schools involved. (4) Protecting and Managing Fresh Water. Capacity Building Seminars on Critical Issues in the Urban Environment, 28 November 1998, Pusat Pengembangan Sumber Manusia Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. (a) WWP president presented the Keynote Paper titled From Rain to Drain and Back Again in the above seminar. Sponsored by Environment Protection Society Malaysia (EPSM) and Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development (DANCED). There are about 100 participants in this seminar.] (b) WWP president presented the Concluding Paper titled Community Response to Water Issues in the above seminar. Sponsored by Environment Protection Society Malaysia (EPSM) and Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development (DANCED). There are about 100 participants in this seminar. (5) LETTERS AND ARTICLES IN JOURNALS, MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS WWP has from time to time published educational and awareness articles in local newspapers in line with its objective to educate the masses and to create a water saving society. Millions must have read the articles. WWP received many calls seeking advice and other matters relating to water saving. The following are the articles published: * Chan N W 1998 Ways to control water resources. The Star, 27 May 1998, p. 18. * Chan N W 1998 Water: A Neglected and Mismanaged Resource. Utusan Konsumer 28 (7), June, p. 12-13. * Chan N W 1998 How To Cut Water Usage By 20 %. Sun 29 June, 1998, p. 18. * Chan N W 1998 Alert on our water levels. The Star 29 July 1998, North, p. 1, 8. * Chan N W 1998 Priceless water not valued. The Star 29 July 1998, North, p. 6, 7. * Chan N W 1998 Water: Too cheap to prompt people to save. The Star 29 July 1998, North, p. 2, 3. * Chan N W 1998 Belum is more than just a forest reserve. The Sun 12 November 1998, p. 16. * Ganesh Rasagam and Chan N W 1999 The Role Of Non-Governmental Organisations in Public Awareness and Environmental Education Towards Protection, Conservation and Rehabilitation of Rivers: Some Examples From The Work of Water Watch Penang. Book of Abstracts of the National Conference on Rivers ?99: Towards Sustainable Development, 14-17 October 1999, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, p 39. * Chan N W 1999 Acid Rain. The Sustainable Penang Initiative: People?s Report of Penang 1999, p. 1. * Chan N W 1999 Water Consumption and Production. The Sustainable Penang Initiative: People?s Report of Penang 1999, p. 8. * Chan N W 1999 The Role of Women in Water Conservation in Penang. Suara Wanita, November 1999. (6) FORUM ON "THE FUTURE OF WATER SUPPLY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE APEC REGION", 29 APRIL 1999, ACADEMY OF SCIENCES MALAYSIA, KUALA LUMPUR. WWP was invited to talk on the topic "Water for Nature" in this forum. The presiden has written a paper and will represent WWP in this forum. About 100 participants are expected at this forum. (7) EDUCATING THE YOUNG TO LOVE AND MONITOR THE HEALTH OF OUR RIVERS - THE SUNGAI PINANG EXPERIENCE, 15th MAY 1999, 8.00 - 5.00 PM. This event is similar to the one held at the Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang on the 13th of March 1999. About 30 students from Tanjong Bungah School took part. The students assembled at the Botanical Gardens at 8.00 am. Once again, the president led the group with some help from WWP members. A short briefing about the importance of conserving the cleanliness of our rivers was given by the president, followed by a "River Walk" along the banks of the Sg Air Terjun inside the Botanical gardens. The Ag Air Terjun is a tributary of the Sg Pinang, hence it contributes the headwaters of the Sg Pinang. Students were briefed on the importance of water conservation and hence the need to keep our rivers clean. The group was then taught some basic water monitoring exercises in which they conducted the exercises themselves in the river. WWP hopes that this school will adopt this section of the Sg Air Terjun so that the students will monitor its "Health" by testing simple indicators such as the physical characteristics (velocity and discharge, cross-section area of river channel, temperature, colour, turbidity, presence of rubbish, smell/odour, flowing or stagnant water), the biological characteristics (presence of aquatic weeds, fish, and other aquatic wildlife) and the chemical characteristics (pH, Dissolved Oxygen and Conductivity). When the students had finished their exercises at this location, they were then taken by bus to downstream Sg Pinang (at the Patani Road Bridge). Here, they conducted the same exercises and to their disgust, they found the huge contrast in river cleanliness between the two sites. Many refused to get into the river at the second site! The results of the exercises confirmed the vast difference in the quality of the river at the two different locations . Students could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the amount of rubbish in the river. The president then rounded up with a discussion as to the reasons for the change in water quality and cleanliness. Students were asked to recommend ways and means of cleaning up the second site. (8) PEOPLE?S FORUM AT THE CARING SOCIETY COMPLEX, 12 June 1999 WWP President Dr Chan Ngai Weng (assisted by Selvi Nagaswari) presented the Annual WWP Report on our activities to the Chief Minister and all the people of Penang. It was at this forum that the Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon announced the PBAPP Sdn Bhd?s funding of RM50,000.00 to WWP). Photograph 5: The Chief Minsiter Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon speaking at the people?s Forum. (9) WWP ANNUAL AGM ? 12 JUNE 1999, CARING SOCIETY COMPLEX In conjunction with the People?s Forum, WWP held its Annual AGM at the same venue between 12.30 noon to 2.00 pm as most of our members were present at the forum. A total of 18 out of 24 members were present. The President Dr Chan Ngai Weng presented the Annual Activities and overall report of WWP. The Treasurer Mrs. Selvi Nagaswari presented the Annual Accounts. Both reports were unanimously accepted and passed. During the elections of office bearers, the following were elected into the various positions: President: Dr Chan Ngai Weng Secretary: Mrs. Selvi Nagaswari Treasurer: Azrina Abdullah Committee Members: Evelyn Teng Fong Lin Lim Wei Seong Khor Hung Teik Lee Shok Mee (10) APPLICATION FOR FUNDING WWP has written to a number of funding agencies for funding as follows: ? The Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) for a 3-Year awareness and education programme. WWP was awarded RM50,000.00 for the first year beginning June 1999 ? June 2000. ? Indah Water Konsortium ? No reply. ? Gamuda Berhad on 29 July 1999 ? No Reply. ? Global Environment Centre on 3 November 1999 ? Waiting for answer ? The Alliance for a Responsible and United World, Paris in June 1999 ? Rejected. (11) NETWORKING Internationally, WWP is now an ally of the Alliance for a responsible and united world, a French NGO. WWP has also approached this NGO for funding, but has received no news so far. The Alliance is currently working towards the preparation of guiding principles for water use in the 21st cemntury. WWP is the Malaysian representative in this venture. WWP is also networking with NGOs from Water Watch Australia, The Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR), Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN), UNDP (Malaysia), and other NGOs. Locally, WWP is collaborating with the Malaysian Nature Society (Penang Branch) in a variety of ventures. It also has connections with CAP, SAM, SERI, TWN and WWF (Malaysia). WWP is also active in the Friends of Penang Hill (FOPH) for the protection and conservation of water resources in Penang State. (12) MAJLIS TAKLIMAT PENGURUSAN PERTUBUHAN, 11 SEPTEMBER 1999, AUDITORIUM A, KOMTAR LEVEL 5, PENANG WWP was represented by Miss Azrina Abdullah, Madam Selvi Nagaswari and Dr Chan Ngai Weng in this forum organised by the Registrar of Socities Penang. (13) WWP PRESENTATION AT THE INTERNATIONAL COURSE ON THE PROMOTION OF HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT IN URBAN AREAS, 25 SEPTEMBER 1999, SERI Dr Chan Ngai Weng gave a presentation titled ?Water Watch Penang: Vision, Role and Activities Towards Sustainable Development Of water Resources In Penang?. (14) OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE PENANG WATER SUPPLY CORPORATION (PBAPP) AND WATER WATCH PENANG (WWP) IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PBAPP?s LAUNCHING OF THEIR NEW LOGO, 8 OOTOBER 1999, HOTEL SHANGRILA, PENANG WWP was represented by Miss Azrina Abdullah, Madam Selvi Nagaswari and Dr Chan Ngai Weng in this event organised by the PBAPP Sdn Bhd. A Mock Cheque of RM50,000.00 was awarded to WWP. Dr Chan received the cheque from Ir Liew Chook San, PBAPP?s Managing Director witnessed by the Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. (15) NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON RIVERS ?99: TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, 14-17 OCTOBER 1999, UNIVERSITI SAINS MALAYSIA, PENANG Ir Ganesh Rasagam and Dr Chan Ngai Weng presented a joint paper for WWP titled ?The Role Of Non-Governmental Organisations in Public Awareness and Environmental Education Towards Protection, Conservation and Rehabilitation of Rivers: Some Examples From The Work of Water Watch Penang (16) WORKSHOP ON LAND RECLAMATION POLICY, 26 OCTOBER 1999, CITITLE, PENANG Dr Chan Ngai Weng represented WWP in this workshop organised by the Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development (DANCED) and Unit Perancangan Ekonomi Negeri Pulau Pinang (UPEN) under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project. (17) WWP PRESENTATION FOR INSTITUTE OF GOVERNANCE, 4 NOVEMBER 1999, SERI Dr Chan Ngai Weng gave a presentation titled ?Water Watch Penang: Vision, Role and Activities Towards Sustainable Development Of water Resources In Penang?. (18) LEARNING FROM THE BAGUIO RIVER BASIN CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE, BAGUIO, PHILIPPINES, 6-10 DECEMBER 1999 WWP was invited to take part in a ?camp forum? by the Institute of Governance who sponsored three of our members for a 5 days trip to Baguio, the Philippines to learn from the successful Filipino experience. WWP were represented by three members Mr Lee Shok Mee, Miss Yeoh Oon Bee and Madam Teh Kin Hong. Mr Lee Shok Mee, by virtue of being the most experienced member, will lead the group. The members were instructed to learn as much as they can from this trip and then return to Penang to try to implement some, if not all, of what they learnt. We are hoping that our three members can implement some of the activities, in relation to river conservation and water, in the schools. WWP thank the Institute of Governance for their funding and we are confident that this trip will help us in our programmes tremendously. WWP hopes that there would be more support of this kind in future. (19) STATE-WIDE INTER-SCHOOL WATER COMPETITIONS: (I) SAVE WATER COMPETITION BASED ON AMOUNT OF WATER SAVED OVER 1 6 MONTH PERIOD; (II) MOST INNOVATIVE AND PRACTICAL WATER CONSERVATION PROJECT; AND (III) BEST PAINTING ON ANY WATER TOPIC, DECEMBER 1999-JUNE 2000 WWP is organising a State-wide competition on the above three competitions for the 300 odd schools in the State. This is part of WWP?s education and awareness programme with the schools. The programme is funded by the PBAPP Sdn Bhd. Trophies, certificates and cash will be awarded to the winners of all the categories. In addition, as a form of encouragement, there will be plenty of consolation prizes. FUTURE PLANS WWP is constantly involved in updating and informing the public of relevant water issues. Future plans include: * Awareness and education through articles/reports in newspaper. * Awareness and education through WWP bulletins/journals. * Awareness and education for the public through WWP's "Love your river campaign". * Awareness and education for school children through WWP's "Adopt a river campaign". * Taking part in EIA panels for water related projects. * Networking with other NGOs for information sharing and water conservation. * Give talks/lectures on water issues. * Advice the public and industries on water saving tips. * Report water abuse, water thefts and other undesirable water related activities to the authorities. * Be a watch dog on all issues relating to water. CHANGE AGENTS WWP has observed some improvement amongst the general public in terms of water saving. People appear to be more concerned now. This is shown by the many calls and enquires received. WWP is also very encouraged by the response from schools and school children. WWP envisage that this is where most of our future work lies, i.e. amongst the younger generation. WWP AND GOVERNANCE It would be an understatement to say that WWP can provide the opportunity to improve governance. WWP is convinced that it can do what no other NGO has ever done before, i.e. get the authorities to work with it. WWP is aware that no water authority wants to do water education, even though they may have a budget for it. WWP wants to help out and take over the water education part of for the water bodies. We need to be given the chance. WWP wants to start by being the educational and public awareness "expert"/advisor" to the PBAPP Sdn Bhd. WWP is hopeful that it?s the PBAPP Sdn Bhd will continue to fund us in our awareness and water education programmes in Penang in the future. Thank you. Dr Chan Ngai Weng President Water Watch Penang 2 December 1999

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