Rainwater harvesting now mandatory

PETALING JAYA: Local authorities will not approve building plans from developers who do not include a rainwater harvesting system (RWH) for residential buildings.

This is stipulated under the Guidelines for Rainwater Harvesting and Utilisation System (SPAH), which was proposed by the Local Government Department in 1999. They were made compulsory following approval by the National Council for Local Government in 2011.

The department's building control division director Ir Ahmad Redza Ghulan Rasool said the type of residential buildings affected are bungalows and semi-detached houses with a roof area equal to or exceeding 100sq m.

"Besides that, any detached buildings with a roof area equal to or exceeding 100sq m must also include the system in the building plan" he added.

Ahmad Redza said failure to comply with any of the by-laws under the Uniform Building By-Laws (UBBL) 1984 would result in the building plan being rejected by the local authorities.

He also said the Ministry of Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government is constantly monitoring the implementation of RWH by ascertaining that state governments have gazette amendments to the UBBL.

Perak, Selangor, Malacca, Johor, Kelantan and Perlis have done so and their local authorities have to enforce the guidelines, he said.

On measures taken by the ministry to ensure successful implementation of the system, he said the ministry has organised training on SPAH for staff of local authorities.

Asked if the government intend to provide subsidies to residents wanting to install the system, he said there was no such plan for the time being.

However, he said users would be getting numerous benefits as the system would help reduce water supply demand from water concessionaires, provide an alternative supply in times of supply disruption as well as reducing the possibility of flash floods.