Climate Change Study
National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Global warming is already altering the world’s climate. Its impacts are felt in all sectors and regions of society, through changes in mean temperature and precipitation as well as through changes in the frequency and intensity of climate extremes which will lead to flood, drought, coastal erosion and seawater inundation. Malaysia flood records shows Malaysia flood record showed that out of eight (8) major floods that occurred between the years 1970-2008, four (4) of them occurred in the decade of 2000-2007 (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), two (2) events occurred in the decade of the 1980s (in 1986 & 1988) while one incident occurred in the 1970s decade (1970) and 1990 (1993), respectively. While there are also another 23 flood occurrence during 1980 – 2010. The flood events affected more than 639,000 people, with more than 1,000,000 USD of economic damage including agriculture and food security, water resources, aquaculture, coastal zones and public health. In 1998, Malaysia experienced severe drought affected 1.8 million residents in southern Kuala Lumpur City, Bangi and Kajang (whose water supply are sourced from the upper Langat River catchment), bringing in its wake 5 months of disrupted water supply. The droughts also make its mark in other areas such as Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Sarawak, and Sabah. The sea level rise phenomenon also shows that from November 1984 to January 1986, out of the country's coastline of 4,809 km, about 29% or 1,380 km was facing erosion. Moreover, the rate of sea level rise using tide gauge observations along Malaysia coast for the period 1984-2010 is 0.2 to 4.4mm/year while the rate of sea level rise based on satellite altimeter data along Malaysia coast for the period 1993-2010 was 2.7-7.0mm/year. If the global temperature keep increasing, there are vulnerabilities some of the low lying areas around Malaysia coastline will be flooded.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
NAHRIM was set up as per Cabinet decision of 14th April 1993 following the Memorandum No 206/1869/93 to the Cabinet. This cabinet decision, endorsed the findings of a Study by Delft Hydraulics in 1990, which identified the need for basic and strategic R&D, to develop tools and techniques to cope with future problems, amongst which were climate change and associated effects, water quality problems, amongst which were climate change and associated effects, water quality problems and the future potential of remote sensing techniques for water related projects. A National Hydraulic Research Centre therefore was deemed necessary and was expected to play an active role in this strategic R&D for the country. Recognising the issue of climate change impact being globally discussed regularly, in year 2000, the NAHRIM had collaborated with California Hydrologic Research Laboratory (CHRL) to find ways to help solve national water related problems and help manage the water resources. Water resources including rivers, lakes, groundwater and the coastal zones. As an initiative to understand the impact of climate change on Malaysia, a study on the “Impact of Climate Change on the Hydrologic Regime and Water Resources of Peninsular Malaysia” were carried out in 2001 and completed at the end of 2005. While study on the “Impact of Climate Change on the Hydrologic Regime and Water Resources of Sabah and Sarawak” were completed in 2010. The output of these study provide an insight into the future, up to the year 2100, characteristics of the hydrologic regime and water resources of the country in the wake of climate change. Later in the year 2010, NAHRIM also conducted a study on the “Impact of Climate Change to Sea Level Rise for Malaysia” to identify the projected sea level rise and affected areas. A few adaptation were identified to manage the water resources such as the wide use of Rainwater harvesting system to capture the rainwater and thus minimize the risk of flood event due to minimum surface water runoff. The utilization of Rainwater Harvesting System also proven to be useful during drought or as a water supply system in rural areas. For example a rainwater harvesting system installed in a selected rural area was able to supply clean water to the local residents for 30 days. Bank infiltration was identified as one of the solution to supply safe drinking water due to pollution of river water. The infiltration process of river water to the aquifer cleans the water through physical and microbial processes. An inundation map of the affected areas due to sea level rise were developed as a guide to number of residents, buildings, transportation line, business and agriculture areas affected by the sea level rise.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative is unique because:  First details CC study in Malaysia – initiated in 2001 and completed fully in 2006 for 1st phase of Peninsular Malaysia Study;  2nd effort – detailed CC study for Sabah and Sarawak and completed in 2010;  Developed state of the art technology of Regional Hydroclimate Model of Land Surface Hydrologic simulation for Peninsular Malaysia (RegHCM-PM, 2006) and Sabah and Sarawak (RegHCM-SS, 2010) using open source platform;  2nd phase of extended Peninsular Malaysia study approved by National Water Resources Council (NWRC) in 2008 with project cost of RM44million;  EPU approved the said project in 10th Malaysia Plan with project cost about RM30.6million;  Simulating future climate data of 15 scenarios or equivalent to 1400 simulation year using High Performance Computing (HPC) System which has capacity about 192 CPU cores (3.0 Ghz) and clock speed of 2.3 teraflops (TF);  R&D collaboration with foreign research institution – University of California Davis, USA and University of Tokyo, Japan  Transform scientific output from the study into actual application such as in engineering practices and produce guidelines, and also for economics assessment;  Using climate projections from Global Climate Models to produce future design rainfall for engineering design with consideration for climate change  Using said future design rainfall for simulation of future flood maps for town planning, disaster mitigation, insurance policy and other purposes

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In handling climate change issues, NAHRIM has developed regional hydro-climate models in an effort to build local capacity in hydro climate modelling and generate national data at a fine spatial resolution. A regional hydrologic-atmospheric model of Peninsular Malaysia called as ‘Regional Hydro-climate Model of Peninsular Malaysia (RegHCM-PM), a regional hydrologic-atmospheric model of Sabah & Sarawak known as ‘Regional Hydro-climate Model of Sabah and Sarawak (RegHCM-SS) were developed as to provide projected rainfall, temperature, evaporation and streamflow as well as soil water storage data for future periods until 2100, that could be used by other agencies such as DID, DOA, JKR, JPBD and Local Authorities in planning and decision-making especially in mitigation and adaptation approaches in addressing climate change. 2nd phase of Peninsular Malaysia study of the climate change impacts on water resources are being carried out and expected will be finished in 2nd quarter of 2014. NAHRIM has also contributed in the publication of Malaysian Second National Communication (NC2) to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the vulnerability and adaptation assessment of climate change to the country’s water resources. 3rd National communication (NC3) will begin in 2014 and expected would be completed in 2017. A NAHRIM study in 2010 also examines the satellite altimetry data during recent history, assesses the sea level rise over Peninsular Malaysia (PM) and Sabah and Sarawak (SS) coastlines. In addition, NAHRIM is the Regional Water Knowledge Hub for Water and Climate Change Adaptation in South East Asia under the Asia Pacific Water Forum.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Economics Planning Unit (PMO), Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Malaysian Meteorological Department, National Water Resources Council, etc.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
• Financial - Federal government R&D allocation fund • Technical – collaboration with foreign expertise from University of California Davis, USA (UCD) • Human resources – NAHRIM and UCD

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
• Economics of Climate Change Study for Malaysia (ECCM) – Water Resources Sector (EPU, 2012) • Technical Guideline for Estimation of Future Design Rainstorm under the Climate Change Scenario in Peninsular Malaysia (NAHRIM, 2013) • Study on the climate change impacts on hydrologic regimes and water resources in Peninsular Malaysia (2006) • Study on the climate change impacts on hydrologic regimes and water resources in Sabah & Sarawak (2010) • Web application of Future (projected) hydroclimate database (since 2007) • Web application of Simulated Hydroclimate Geo-Information System of Projected Hydroclimate data for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak (since 2010) • Climate projection downscaling for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak using HADLEY Centre PRECIS model (2011) • Technical Guideline for Estimation of Future Design Rainstorm under the Climate Change Scenario in Sabah and Sarawak – expected published in 2nd quarter of 2014 Technical Guideline for Estimation of Future Design Rainstorm under the Climate Change Scenario in Peninsular Malaysia – 15 scenarios, expected published in 2014

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
• Technical meeting • Seminar/workshop • Meeting with stakeholders or implementation agencies

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
• To change the mindset of stakeholders and implantation agencies on the mainstreaming issues of climate change in program and activities such as in floods mitigation and water related project • Promote through central agencies such as EPU and Working Committee on Climate Change adaptation

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Climate change studies enable all stakeholders to prepare for climate change impacts by implementing mitigation and adaptation measures, thus reducing disasters brought on by extreme weather. The projected climate data could help the country in developing adaptation measures and adaptation roadmap that would minimise the potential climate change impacts on Malaysian socio-economic activities and help lead the country towards sustainable development through the sustainability of water resources system.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
• ECCM study in water resources sector was illustrated as R&D sustainable project that can be used as show case project to enhance and minimise disaster risk due to climatic and non-climatic factors. • Methodology used in the development of Technical Guideline for Estimation of Future Design Rainstorm under the Climate Change Scenario in Peninsular Malaysia can be applied to other area or region.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
• To form technical working committee so that all the relevant input can be included in the proposed study (R&D project). • Working with stakeholders and implementation agencies so that outputs of the study can fully utilised by them.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Saiful Bahri Hamzah
Title:   Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   +603-89476400 / +603-89483044
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Lot 5377 Jalan Putra Permai
Postal Code:   43300
City:   Seri Kembangan
State/Province:   Selangor

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