Drinking water, also known as potable water, is water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation. The amount of drinking water required varies. It depends on physical activity, age, health issues, and environmental conditions.

Why water is so IMPORTANT?

But, is our tap water is safe enough to consume?

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country with a population of over 28 million. Malaysia receives most of its water supply from surface water and some from groundwater.

Tap water is treated with a large number of chemicals in order to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. In addition, it may contain other undesirable contaminants like toxic metal salts, hormones and pesticides, or it may become contaminated by chemicals or microbes within pipes (e.g. lead, bacteria, protozoa).

There are several ways in which tap water can get contaminated while being piped to your home. Water tested in different parts of Malaysia was found to have different contaminants that can be dangerous to health when consumed.

Some of these harmful substances in tap water include:

  • Heavy metals: Heavy metals can get into the water from the pipe itself or the ground through cracks in the pipe. While newer pipes are made of PVC, the old pipes were made of iron, which, after a while, can leach into the water making it unsafe for drinking.

  • Rust: With repeated use, iron can rust, and the rust can enter the water. Rust changes the color of the water, making it brownish and it also adds a bad smell and taste. Rust-contaminated water is unfit for drinking.

  • Germs: It is not possible to be completely free of bacteria, but when water is left stagnant, the amount of bacteria in the water multiplies and can cause diseases. Bacteria can also enter tap water through sewage water contamination.

How Contaminants Can Get into Our Water Supply?

  • The water that comes from rain and collects in lakes and ponds first goes through a water treatment plant before being piped to Malaysian homes.
  • At the water treatment plants, water is treated on several levels which helps to remove contaminants like bacteria and other disease-causing elements, heavy metals, chemical fertilizers, and so on.

The water that leaves the treatment plants is of good quality and should be safe for drinking, BUT THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. Why?

This is because the water in your faucet may pick up contaminants on its journey to the tap. Before the water is piped to homes for household uses like drinking, cooking, bathing, and so on, the water is treated. Water treatment helps to remove impurities like heavy metals and disease-causing bacteria from the water.
While your water may leave the treatment plant without contaminants, but it collects them from gas leaks, animal waste, sewage waste, and runoff along the way. 

Types of Contaminants in Drinking Water

The term "contaminant" ........... any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water.

Physcial Contaminants

  • Physical contaminants primarily impact the physical appearance or other physical properties of water. Examples of physical contaminants are sediment or organic material suspended in the water of lakes, rivers and streams from soil erosion.

Chemical Contaminants

  • Chemical contaminants are elements or compounds. These contaminants may be naturally occurring or man-made. Examples of chemical contaminants include nitrogen, bleach, salts, pesticides, metals, toxins produced by bacteria, and human or animal drugs.

Biological Contaminants

  • Biological contaminants are organisms in water. They are also referred to as microbes or microbiological contaminants. Examples of biological or microbial contaminants include bacteria, viruses, protozoan, and parasites.

Radiological Contaminants

  • Radiological contaminants are chemical elements with an unbalanced number of protons and neutrons resulting in unstable atoms that can emit ionizing radiation. Examples of radiological contaminants include cesium, plutonium and uranium.

Waterborne diseases has been afflicting hundreds of millions of people, primarily those living without safe, accessible water in developing countries. Diarrhea is the central symptom. The latest research shows that diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five, causing more childhood deaths than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.


The presence of heavy metals in treated water in Kuantan may have confirmed the worst-case scenario of bauxite contamination raised by experts in August. Furhtermore, analyses on Dec 3 by a team of experts show traces of aluminium in the treated water supply in Felda Bukit Goh and Felda Bukit Sagu, and lead, in Semambu.

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow