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SPARK Foundation Commits RM2.5 million to Spearhead Water Stewardship Agenda

Rainwater harvesting system built to benefit 1,800 residents at Block 1 Desa Mentari.

21 July 2018, Petaling Jaya – As part of its ongoing water stewardship agenda, SPARK Foundation, the CSR arm of Heineken Malaysia Berhad (HEINEKEN Malaysia), has committed to invest an additional RM2.5million over the next three years for the Phase 3 of its W.A.T.E.R project*. The Foundation aims to lead in water stewardship through collaboration with government agencies and local communities in strategic projects, to protect water resources and work towards long term sustainable water management.

To kickstart the Phase 3 of its project, SPARK Foundation in collaboration with Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Global Environment Centre built rainwater harvesting system at Block 1, Desa Mentari in Petaling Jaya, which is located within one of its project sites, Sungai Penchala. The system is capable of harvesting an estimate of one million litres of rainwater annually and will benefit over 1,800 residents in the area by supplying additional water supply that is suitable for general use such as cleaning, landscaping and irrigation.

Renuka Indrarajah, SPARK Foundation Trustee said: “Water stewardship is about businesses taking strategic action to ensure water is managed sustainably as a shared, public resource. We believe that commitment towards water stewardship goes beyond being an efficient water user. Through SPARK Foundation we want to take lead in water stewardship by collaborating with like-minded partners, engagement and education of local communities as well as investments in strategic initiatives at Sungai Selangor, Sungai Penchala and Sungei Way.”

Over the past ten years, SPARK Foundation has invested more than RM8 million in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the W.A.T.E.R project.  Since the inception of W.A.T.E.R project in 2007, SPARK Foundation has adopted five rivers including Sungei Way and Sungai Penchala in Selangor, as well as Sungai Senam, Sungai Buntong and Sungai Kledang in Perak. The combined efforts have led to improved water quality, heightened awareness on the importance of river conservation as well as a mindset shift among communities along the targeted river basins.

Renuka added: “To date, more than 30,000 Malaysians have been engaged through our education programmes, including supporting of the River of Life Public Outreach Programme, Train the Trainers Programme and our Mobile River Care Unit. Through our project, we have established 12 active river care communities to sustain the cleanliness of the river that flows through their neighbourhood.”

“On behalf of SPARK Foundation, I would like to extend our gratitude to GEC, the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), MBPJ, and Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) and the local communities for their continuous support for our water stewardship agenda.

Tuan Johary Bin Anuar, Deputy Mayor of MBPJ said: “Water conservation is a critical effort that must be managed effectively especially in a highly urbanised and fast-growing city like Petaling Jaya. Protecting water resources is our collective responsibility and we are committed to support organisations who empower local communities to take action. The initiative by SPARK Foundation, GEC along with multi stakeholders is exemplary as it delivers measurable impact in an area that benefits all Malaysians. We strongly encourage other organisations to learn from SPARK Foundation and embrace holistic environmental improvement projects that are relevant to their businesses.

Dr K. Kalithasan, GEC River Care Coordinator also added that: “The W.A.T.E.R Project has been a success due to smart partnership with government agencies and communities. With the renewed project direction, we will be able to introduce alternative water supply and strengthen awareness on water conservation to the general public.”

The W.A.T.E.R Project is a collaboration between SPARK Foundation and the Global Environment Centre – a non-profit organisation and government agencies which aims to raise awareness on the importance of river and water conservation through community-based programmes. The additional investment of RM2.5 million committed for the next three years will help fund continuous education programmes and strategic initiatives along the targeted river basins of Sungei Way, Sungai Penchala and Sungai Selangor. Key initiatives at project sites include rainwater harvesting, water thimble technology, wetland construction and reforestation.

Members of the public are encouraged now sign up as volunteers or become a partner via the SPARK Foundation’s website www.sparkfoundation.com.my

*W.A.T.E.R Project – Working Actively Through Education and Rehabilitation