Infusing ILBM into IWRM towards water sector transformation – a case of Malaysia

Author(s): Zati Sharip
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Institution or organization of origin: National Water Research Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM)
Country: Malaysia


Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) initiatives have been undertaken by Malaysia since the mid-2000s. One of the important documents outlining the initiatives is the adoption of the strategic plan for sustainable lake and reservoir development and management that defines the vision and the policy framework. Malaysia is mainstreaming water in the national agenda with the integrated water resources management (IWRM) paradigm as its central policy towards country commitment to achieve the sustainable development goals on water (since 2001). Lake remains as important component due to being a part of the river system and its strategic contribution as a resource and livelihood. In the context of water as a resource, lakes contribute towards supplying water for domestic and industrial growth as well as agriculture development besides regulating flood and drought. In the context of water as livelihood, lakes contribute as consumptive water uses through alternative water sources from stormwater ponds, and non-consumptive uses namely hydropower development, freshwater fisheries and, recreation and tourism expansion. The 12th Malaysia plan will accelerate IWRM in a shared prosperity initiative, encompassing three dimensions, namely economic empowerment, environmental sustainability, and social re-engineering. In the environmental sustainability dimension, specific focuses were given on IWRM (which includes ILBM), biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and valuing ecosystem services. Long-term programs, include research and development using innovation and industrial revolution technology (IR 4.0) towards the improvement of pollution monitoring, rehabilitation of degraded lakes, stakeholder and community collaboration in governance, and adaption to future climate changes to enhance lake resilience.

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