PETALING JAYA: Harvesting rainwater will be the best alternative in the long run to avoid water crisis, especially with increasing water demand by industries, agricultural sector and households. Universiti Teknologi Mara's Assoc Prof Dr Yee Chow Fah said harvesting rainwater would be the solution for use in non-consumption purposes such as washing cars, cleaning drains, watering plants and flushing toilets. "This would help reduce demand for treated water which can be used for cooking and drinking," she told theSun. Although people claim that its not cheap to install the rainwater harvesting system, she said she does not mind installing the system as it would help minimise the use of treated water. "My main objective of having the system is to do my part in conserving the earth's resources as well as greening the environment," said Yee. Rainwater Harvesting System (RHS) is the direct collection of rainwater from roofs and other purpose built catchments. This system has been implemented in many countries such as USA, Japan, China, India, Germany and Australia to supplement the increasing water demand. Yee said said everyone should do their part (big or small) to save treated water and take part in greening the environment as it was not something difficult to do. RHS was introduced by the Housing and Local Government Ministry after the 1998 drought. The 1999 "Guidelines for Installing a Rainwater Collection and Utilisation System" can be seen as the initial phase of the rainwater harvesting policy in Malaysia. To get people to install RHS, Yee said the federal and state governments need to play a role by giving some incentives such as discounts on assessments for households that have installed RHS. "If this is done, I believe more people will install the system," she added. Meanwhile the Association of Water and Energy Research president S. Piarapakaran said, if 50% of domestic household uses harvested rainwater then around 287 million litres per day (MLD) of treated water can be saved. "This means that raw water retained in the dams will be more than 300 MLD. As a result, the water levels in the dams will be slightly higher and will be able to withstand longer dry season," he said. Although there is the issue of costing and maintenance, he said, the system was still a better solution to look at in tackling the water crisis problem in Malaysia.