River Rehabilitation Project

Restoring our rivers for our children River Rehabilitation Project

We began the River Rehabilitation Project in December 2007, adopting the entire 2.5km stretch of Sungei Way, a tributary of Sungei Penchala that flows behind GAB’s brewery. We embarked on this project together with Global Environmental Centre, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), to educate the communities and factories operating and living along the river. “A good river is nature's life work in song.” ― Mark Helprin, Freddy and Fredericka

The state of our rivers when they reach the sea is a reflection of who we are as a community and how we treat ourselves and the people that we most care about. When our children inherit our rivers, we will be judged on how well we have preserved these sources of life.

We began our River Rehabilitation Project in December 2007, adopting the entire 2.5km stretch of Sungei Way, a tributary of Sungei Penchala that flows behind GAB’s brewery. We embarked on this project together with Global Environmental Centre, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), to educate the communities and factories operating and living along the river.

We kept our advocacy messages simple, and encouraged river stakeholders to preserve the river’s natural flora and fauna, and to refrain from indiscriminate dumping. Our advocacy work brought us into the upstream communities of SS3 and SS9A, and the downstream communities of Desa Mentari, Desa Ria and Kampung Lindungan.

Business entities, government sectors, service providers as well as local leaders and politicians took a keen interest in the project and came forward to play their part in supporting this project. The project is unique in that the focus is placed on community participation in the clean-up efforts.

We are pleased to note that this is the first project of its kind in Malaysia, although we hope that it won’t be the last. 2010 marked the end of our 3 year Sungei Way rehabilitation project and we produced a river rehabilitation handbook along the way. The ‘Handbook on Urban River Management Through Local Community Participation’ was published and launched on April 7th 2011 by the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources & Environment Malaysia, YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Kurup.

Based on the success derived from the execution in Selangor, the W.A.T.E.R project will now be adopted for Sg Senam, Sg Kledang and Sg Buntong, which are tributaries of Sg Kinta, Perak.
Measuring Our Outcomes River Rehabilitation Project

We worked hard on the river for 18 months, and to our delight, we found the return of a variety of fish including snakeheads (ikan haruan), eels and even catfish! This was a big accomplishment for us, and we were equally heartened by the co-operation of local communities who faithfully tested the water every three months in collaboration with an independent laboratory to determine if our efforts were paying off. When we first surveyed Sungei Way to determine the level of degradation in the river, we were disappointed but unsurprised to find only weeds, worms, tadpoles and mosquito fish. We worked hard on the river for 18 months, and to our delight, we found the return of a variety of fish including snakeheads (ikan haruan), eels and even catfish!

This was a big accomplishment for us, and we were equally heartened by the co-operation of local communities who faithfully tested the water every three months in collaboration with an independent laboratory to determine if our efforts were paying off. We are proud to say that it has.

The overall water quality of Sungei Way has improved from between Class IV and V (for irrigation only) to Class III (needs extensive treatment before suitable for drinking, and recreation use with body contact) within the project’s life span.

We’ve also used these studies and the lessons we learnt from working on the project to teach the community and the public at large about the importance of water conservation, and how they could go about it.

Rest assured that these lessons will come into play when we tackle our next river!