xGreen: Malaysian Water Efficiency Label (WEPLS)
Manufacturing needs it, our coffee has it; we use it to clean, to grow food and 70% of our body is made of it. I am, of course, talking about water. We often assume that water will always flow from an opened tap, as much as we assume the sun will rise, and that our aunt will always brag about our doctor cousin at gatherings. But is it really a given? Will we always have access to as much clean water as we need?
Water—the stuff of life. We don’t think about it, but could we run out of it?
Research shows that the growth in population and rapid urbanisation of Malaysia has decreased water availability for each person (source). The World Resource Institute has even projected a 1.4 times increase in water stress levels, by 2020, for KL and 8 states in West Malaysia (source). Meanwhile, Malaysians are still using 201 L of water per person per day, much higher than the UN recommended 165 L (source).
There are 229 polluted/ somewhat polluted rivers in Malaysia (source).
Malaysia draws drinking water from its rivers, however clean rivers are diminishing due to increasing pollution.
Photo credit: Flickr
Whilst Malaysia has been trying to improve water treatment and encourage better practices at the industrial level, consumers can also contribute by reducing their water usage. One initiative that helps consumers save both the environment and their wallets is the Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme (WEPLS) initiated by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).
What is WEPLS
WEPLS is an effort to register and label the water efficiency of water consuming products. This is done both to encourage consumers to purchase more water efficient products, as well as to encourage suppliers and manufacturers to bring in or develop more of said water efficient products. The initiative was started in 2013 on a voluntary basis as it was not feasible to enforce on short notice. However, as of 2019, laws are being drafted to make the WEPLS mandatory for all local products and imports (source).