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.
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 is tap water bad for drinking?
Tap water should be safe to drink, but a lot can happen to it on its way from the purification plant to your home. Water is carried over long distances in pipes to reach homes. Along the miles and miles of pipes, it is hard to keep track of where there might be a problem. Some of the problems that can arise in the pipes include:
Rust from old pipes gets mixed with the water.
Heavy metals like iron and lead from pipes can contaminate the water.
Damaged pipes could let soil and other contaminants enter the water.
Water in old and leaking pipes could accidentally mix with sewage from leaking drainage pipes and become dangerous for drinking.
Stagnant water in pipes becomes a breeding place for bacteria.
Pipes are underground, and regular maintenance is difficult. If you are lucky, the water coming out of your tap is suitable for drinking; however, you can never know for sure. And this is the truth about tap water in Malaysia!
What is in tap water that is bad?
As mentioned, 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.
It is both difficult to monitor all the miles of underground pipelines on a regular basis and to check tap water for the different harmful agents constantly. To ensure that you are getting pure, clean drinking water, you should consider using packaged water or getting a water purifier for your home.