A comparative study of water resources usage by Households in Georgetown-Malaysia and Pattaya-Thailand
Since the 1970s, both Malaysia and Thailand have progressed rapidly in economic development and social transformation. Both countries have been touted either as two of the “Asian Tiger Economies” or “Newly Industrialising Countries (NICs)” chasing after Singapore, which is considered the “developed country standard” in Southeast Asia. Against a background of rapid development, with high GDP growth rates averaging between 5-10 % per annum (with the exception of the Asian Financial crisis during 1997- 1999), both countries have experienced and are still experiencing mounting environmental degradation, and Urban Environmental Management (UEM) problems in their main cities, especially in terms of water services. Prioritizing rapid economic development and growth has increased income levels and reduced poverty, but at the same time has inevitably brought about a number of UEM problems, chief of which are frequent occurrence of environmental hazards, deteriorating air quality, water pollution, poor sanitation and inadequate low cost housing (Research Centre for Water Environment Technology, 2006). There are many water problems in the two selected cities of Georgetown and Pattaya. Firstly, both receive rainfall unevenly through out the year causing droughts at times while at other times causing severe flooding. Secondly, both cities depend on their hinterland for water supply. In the case of Georgetown, more than 80 % of its water supply flows in from another state where it has no jurisdiction. This has caused severe problems in the past as plans were put up (by the neighbouring state) to log the water catchment which will destroy the city’s water supply. Thirdly, both cities are major tourist destinations where millions of tourists arrive each year.