Malaysia’s Rainwater Harvesting Code

water conservation

It has always been difficult to predict how and when the purely voluntary green building rating systems will become part of the building code requirements, not so for Malaysia, where the local newspaper reports today that all new buildings (new bungalows, semi-detached homes, government buildings) must have rainwater harvesting systems to gain building approval.

In case that over complicated link is broken, here is the report from the The Star (http://thestar.com.my):

Published: Monday June 13, 2011 MYT 4:42:00 PM

New bungalows, semi-detached homes, govt buildings must have rain water systems

By NG CHENG YEE

KUALA LUMPUR: Developers must include rain-harvesting systems in new bungalows, semi-detached homes and government buildings to get their plans approved.

This new regulation would soon be incorporated into the Uniform Building By-Laws to make the green feature mandatory, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung.

The National Council for Local Government, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, had approved the new by-law on May 23, he said.

“Such a feature will allow owners of these premises to conserve rain water and use it to water plants, wash cars and for other purposes,” he told a press conference on Green Solution for Property Development Conference 2011: Greener Cities here on Monday.

He said developers who failed to include the feature in these buildings would not be able to get approval for their building plans.

On existing buildings, Chor said owners were encouraged to install such feature on a voluntary basis.

“We hope that when more houses are equipped with such feature, house owners will be able to see the benefit of it and follow suit,” he said.

Water conservation is a serious and often overlooked issue, countries across the region are only just beginning to consider and the fact Malaysia has acted can only be a positive indication.  As I have said before water is the new carbon.  Under the Hong Kong green building rating system BEAM fresh water conservation is encouraged with rainwater harvesting being one of many solutions. One would hope the Malaysian building code will address the issue of load (usage) reduction first and foremost, and no rely on rainwater harvesting to support unsustainable practices.