Water security involves the sustainable use and protection of water systems, the protection against water related hazards (pollution), the sustainable development of water resources and the safeguarding of accessibility, water functions and services for humans and the environment.

Riverbank/bed Filtration (RBF) is one of the options for cost-effective, natural pretreatment technology that uses Mother Nature’s geology—instead of chemicals—to pretreated surface water and groundwater supplies. RBF is widely practiced as a source pre-treatment of surface water during passage through riverbed material to a production well, where the removal of biological and colloids occurs via attachment to riverbed material. The beneficial attenuation processes proceed mainly in two main zones: the biologically active colmation layer and along the main flow path between the river and abstraction borehole. The cluster is actively studying on RBF to optimise the abstraction and pollutants removal of river bank filtration for drinking water.

The outcome of this research will be an integrated system for source abstractions, pre treatment, water treatment plant optimization and economic cost analysis of these processes on drinking water as well as related policies. This research project will realize and ensure water accessibility, sustainability and water security in the country.

The team in this cluster is currently very active in carrying out research under LRGS grant entitled Water Security: Protection of Drinking Water for Society: Source abstraction and treatment with a total amount of RM4, 594,250. The research involves staff members of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Malaya (UM), NAHRIM, UiTM, UNITEN and Malaysian Nuclear Agency. Besides the main grant from LRGS, other grants have also strengthen the cluster such as Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) on flood disaster which specifically deals with preparedness on water abstraction and treatment for flood prone areas particularly in the State of Kelantan. Amongst other topics in the flood disaster grant are preparedness of basic sanitation requirement at relief centers during flooding and flood hazard map utilizing public domain inundation hydrological (FRM) and hydraulic (HEC-RAS) models and GIS.

The team also actively involves with community engagement project by implementing water supply project to the bottom billion people mainly the aborigine community. A water supply project using limestone roughing filter was constructed in July 2012 using a funding concept of multi-stake holders which involved Perak State Health Department and Department of Development for Aboriginal People (JAKOA) and the community itself. The roughing filter was constructed based on laboratory findings. This project has been recognized fulfilling the National Blue Ocean Strategy of the Malaysian government due to rapid execution, cost saving, multi-stake holders and transforming research for the benefit of community. Currently USM research team involves with community empowerment and participation for the sustainability of the water supply system.