Stop the EKVE from Cutting through the Selangor State Park : Selangor’s Water Tower
This petition had 3,617 supporters
6.7 million residents of Selangor, KL and Putrajaya were affected by the water rationing exercise caused by the current water crisis in the Klang Valley.
We, the rakyat of Malaysia, call on both the Federal Government and Selangor State Government to stop the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) from cutting through the Selangor State Park (The Park) and other forest reserves. These forested areas are part of the region’s natural water tower and are vital to the social and economic well-being of the state and federal territories. The current alignment of the EKVE compromises the crucial ecosystem function of these forests as water catchment forests for the Klang Valley. We also object to the proposal to degazette the Park and forest reserves for the construction of the expressway.
The EKVE will have numerous adverse effects on Selangor, KL and Putrajaya – economically, environmentally and socially.
Water Security & Supply:
Protecting our water catchment forests is not a luxury but a necessity. The Ampang and Ulu Gombak forest reserves serve as water catchment forests for major areas in the Klang Valley. The Ampang Intake plant supplies 19 million litres of potable water per day to 9,225 accounts in the Ampang area. The Ulu Gombak forest reserve is a catchment for the Klang Gates Dam. This dam reportedly supplies water to 80,000 households and business premises in the Klang Valley.
It is inconceivable that both the Federal government and Selangor State government have approved the alignment of the EKVE to cut through the water catchment forests at a time when Selangor, KL and Putrajaya are suffering water shortages. Forests create part of the total rainfall through its evapo-transpiration; cut the forest and we will soon have less rain. In addition, the Selangor State Structure Plan states that all existing main raw water resources have been fully used. The message is clear – If we are to sustainably develop Selangor and the Klang Valley, it is critical that we protect and preserve our major water catchment areas – and Selangor State Park, the only contiguous forest remaining in Selangor – is one such area.
The National Hydraulic Research Institute Malaysia (NAHRIM) in its study of our future rainfall, projects that Malaysia would receive more rainfall but also have longer droughts, in light of climate change – a double whammy of more floods interspersed with longer droughts.
At the same time we are now going to start importing water from the planned Kelau Dam in Pahang at huge costs financially and environmentally. Again, all the more reason to protect our forests and water catchment areas.
Negative Economic Impacts of Clearing Catchment Forests:
The construction of a highway and its after effect will result in soil erosion that will affect our water quality. The US Forest Service economists have concluded thatthevalue of non-extractive benefits (including clean water supply, clean air and outdoor recreation) far outweighs the value of extractive activities. By protecting pristine water catchment forests, the city of New York is saving USD$4billion a year in filtration costs alone. It would not be wrong to say the same would hold true for Malaysia.
Both the Ampang and Ulu Gombak forests are near pristine state with the rivers feeding the Ampang Intake Point and the Klang Gates Dam classified as Class 1 currently. While the project proponent has proposed mitigation measures, the execution of these measures may not provide ecosystem sustainability in the long run. It is a risk not worth taking.
The water crisis has had a negative economic impact on the revenues of numerous factories, businesses and shops. The water crisis is also increasing costs and worsening existing environmental issues, for example, many shops and residences are resorting to disposal packaging in the form of Styrofoam and plastic to deal with the lack of water. This is increasing costs and problems associated with waste disposal.
Transport & Development:
The Expressway through Selangor State Park will likely be followed by further branch roads, commercial development and human settlement if not soon but eventually. Studies have shown that 95 percent of forest loss occurs within 50 km of a road.
Building more roads encourages more traffic which requires more road building thus resulting in a vicious cycle of ever increasing roads and traffic. The growth in the number of private cars in the country stood at six per cent a year. Most highways in the region experience massive jams. With current rate of car registration, roads will be at maximum capacity by 2020. It is unlikely that the EKVE will provide a lasting solution to the traffic congestion on the MRR2, if it provides any solution at all.
The need for the EKVE is based on a report prepared more than 15 years ago. However, both the Federal Government and Selangor State Government have been intensifying efforts to improve and promote the use of public transportation. In August 2013, the Selangor Menteri Besar announced that Selangor planned to increase public transportation ridership of its population from the current 5% to 40% in the future. In February 2014, he announced that Selangor will implement the Transit on Demand plan to minimise movement of vehicles into the city, thus reducing traffic and air pollution.
Datuk Seri Idris Jala, the CEO of PEMANDU and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in his article titled “An Efficient MRT System is Vital to Make KL a Great City” stated that the Federal government is already making tremendous achievements in encouraging the public to use public transportation; in 2011 the morning peak hour ridership increased by 85,000 commuters compared to 2010 and customer satisfaction surpassed the target set. Given that the government’s effort is already showing impressive results within such a short period, the use of public transportation can only improve given more time, especially with the implementation of the MRT and LRT extension projects. There is a need to review the perceived necessity of the EKVE with these new measures being planned and put into place.
Water security is vital for the well-being of the rakyat and the country’s economy. Water resources should be fully protected to ensure water quality and quantity is not compromised.
We should not be setting a trend where forests that are accorded the highest protection status are compromised in the name of development. We need to avoid having the highway cut through forested areas. The risk of damaging our water resources is far higher than the potential benefits of smoother traffic flow that the EKVE is supposed to provide. We can survive traffic jams and find ways to avoid them, but we cannot survive without clean and sufficient water!
We, the rakyat of Malaysia, call on both the Federal Government and Selangor State Government to stop the EKVE from cutting through the Selangor State Park and other forest reserves.
Please do the right thing for our future. Be leaders – lead and not be led by demands that are detrimental in the long run.
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