Watch on Water - Environment Rewarding Ventures

By S.S. Yoga (Tues 23 January 2001)

Penangites are always ready to fight for a good cause. Dorothy Teng and the volunteers of Water Watch Penang are good examples.
WATER Watch Penang (WWP) was formed in November 1997 as a result of the many water crises which have hit Penang.

The non-profit society, registered two years ago, is an offshoot of another Penang-based group, the Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI). SERI was set up by the State Government to help with policy making on issues such as water supply.

WWP's main objectives are to create public awareness on water conservation, research on water issues and provide consultancy on water recycling.

Its treasurer Dorothy Teng says the Ford grant of RM17,000 will help fund educational camps to expose youths and students to watershed and water resources conservation.

"Water is the most important commodity and it is a must for everyone to practice water conservation,'' points out Teng.

With a membership of 30, the group had held expeditions along rivers where school children participated in monitoring activities. Teng says this way, they see for themselves the state of rivers.

WWP hopes to get schools to adopt stretches of rivers and keep them clean, similar to the Drainage and Irrigation Department's Love Your River campaign. Ultimately, WWP sees itself as a watchdog on all issues related to water.

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Presentation of Water Book to the Chief Minister of Penang

1. The Asia-Pacific Peoples Environment Network (APPEN) is presenting its new publication �Water Watch: A Community Action Guide to the Chief Minister of Penang YAB Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon. The book is a manual for civic participation and monitoring in the Asia Pacific Region.

2. APPEN is also presenting the Chief Minister with an additional number of copies to be given out at the National Water Council during the Councils upcoming first meeting on 29 July.

3. The book was produced under a programme called Water Watch Asia, the region�s first water network jointly set up by APPEN and Asia Pacific 2000, an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In the years 1997-1998, Water Watch Asia was based in Penang, Malaysia.

4. One of Water Watch Asia�s strategy to support advocacy in times of our water crisis is to initiate the formation of local waterwatch groups. During the Ecological Sustainability Roundtable of the Sustainable Penang Initiative organised by the Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute (SERI Penang) in November 1997, a local waterwatch group called Water Watch Penang was formed. This group is now applying for registration as a society, with Dr. Chan Ngai Weng as its protem chairperson.

5. The aims of Water Watch Penang is to promote the study, awareness, knowledge, conservation, protection and the practice of a water saving society towards the sustainable development of water resources in accordance with the aspirations of Agenda 21 of the United Nations and Malaysia�s Environmental Commitment.

6. �Water Watch: A Community Action Guide is the first book on water monitoring to be published in Malaysia. The author Abdur-Razzaq Lubis, is the coordinator of Water Watch Asia and is also the protem secretary of Water Watch Penang.

7. From this year onwards, the secretariat of Water Watch Asia and Water Watch Penang will be based at SERI Penang.

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