What is River Three?

River Three refers to the three elements crucial to building a sustainable community owned river Conservation, Protection and Rejuvenation (River CPR) programme.


The three elements are:-


1.         River Trail/ Park/ Garden/ Farm

2.         River Community

3.         River Economy


A. River Trail/ Park/ Garden/ Farm


Urban and suburban rivers have largely been converted into drains due to the concretization of streams. tributaries and rivers by DID MY. This has resulted in these riparian bodies being perceived as dumping points for pollutants. It has also drastically altered the geological features of a these bodies and created many physical, social, environmental and economic problems for citizens, businesses and the government. Rivers and streams have become largely inaccessible to the general public and their banks have become trash sites.


The building of trails, parks, gardens and farms at the banks of these rivers will allow easy public access. What this access means is that we will have the opportunity to alter the perception of the public that rivers and their banks are a trash dumping points. By making them accessible, we create opportunities for engagement to educate and inform the public on the important role that rivers play in our lives and the need for River CPR and for their participation.


The trails, parks, gardens and farms not only attract public visit but also creates entry points for public participation and ownership and that leads to the creation of River Communities


B. River Communities


River communities are built when groups of likeminded people are given the opportunity for ownership of different aspects of River CPR. For example:-


i)        Cyclists owning cycling lanes/ trails by the river

ii)       Runners/ Joggers/ Walkers owning trails by the river

iii)      Seniors/ Babies/ Disabled owning recreational trails by the river

iv)      Resident Associations, Outdoor Activities groups, Fitness groups, performing arts groups, Seniors groups, 

          owning a park by the river

v)       Wildlife interests groups owning a park by the river

vi)      Gardeners and Horticulturists owning a garden by the river

vii)     Urban farmers owning a park by the river

viii)    Academic and research groups owning a park by the river

ix)      Individuals looking for a non-mall urban escape and recreational area by the river


Each of these interest groups have the opportunity to collectively own different parts of the river bank which allow them to run programmes and activities for their members. Most of these activities would be free but quite a number can be monetized and used to create a circular economy which closes the loop for River CPR. This bring us to River Economy

C. River Economy


Pre-modernisation, rivers were key to economic life. Not only was it a source of drinking water and food crop irrigation as well as food source, it was also a means of transport for economic activity. Raw materials from the interior were transported downstream by the river and finished goods and supplies were transported upstream by trails along river banks. The advent and development of road, rail, sea and air transport has diminished the importance of rivers for economic activity especially in urban and suburban areas. However, the river remains of primary importance to the very survival of Malaysia as 87% of its potable water comes from rivers. Eliminate rivers completely and the country will fall into chaos and there will be mass deaths within a matter of one month.


Thus far, the government with all its resources has failed to protect rivers. Therefore it is incumbent on citizens to take ownership of rivers and protect it. To make this a reality, an economic model needs to be in place. Capitalism has largely failed and sits at the root cause of much of the environmental destruction we are experiencing now. A close looped circular economic model would provide a good testing ground for the new economic models and practices which could potentially supplement or replace the existing capitalist model. Each aspect of River Three has elements which fit the circular economy model. One easy example is as follows:-


i)         Urban farmers grow food and non-food crops in idle river bank lands

ii)        These farms support manual composting, mechanized de-composting, waste organic matter enzyme

           production, sustainable material crops such as bamboo, coconuts and cassava

iii)       These can be manufactured into sustainable products which can be sold within and without the circular


iv)       Organic waste material can be composted or decomposted to create soil replenishers, fertilizers for the

           grown crops and excess can be sold to farms and individuals as an eco-friendly alternative to toxic 

           chemical fertilizers and additives

v)        Food crops can be sold at River Markets

vii)      Medicinal and herbal crops can be converted into sustainable hygiene and personal care products via

           Little River Industries


River Three is positioned to transform urban and suburban river banks into community river monitoring programmes to monitor river quality and discourage rivers and riverbanks from becoming trash dumping points. The owners now have a vested interest in keeping the river and riverbanks free from pollution. River Three also becomes the platform to launch River 1 and River Five which is Rehabilitation of Rivers to become Class 1 Living Entities. River 4 will be dealt with separately. The government has spent millions of RM in river rehabilitation but again has largely failed. Rivers by nature is a continuous connected eco-system. River sources are critical in this eco-system and River CPR is necessary from source to sea. River Three represents the “To” part of Source To Sea. “Source” and “Sea” are addressed in River One and River Five.


D. Key Features of River Three


1.         Zero Waste

2.         Sustainable & Eco-friendly

3.         5R

4.         Inclusive

5.         Supports SDG30


The key stakeholders are:-


a.         Local Champion/ Champions

b.         Local Community

c.         Local Business

d.         Local Government

e.         Department of Drainage & Irrigation

f.          Water Resources Commission MY

g.         Department of Environment

f.          Department of Wildlife

g.         Department of Forestry

h.         Ministry of Water, Land & Natural Resources

i.          Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change

j.          Ministry of Housing and Local Government

k.         Ministry of Economic Affairs

l.          State Governments

m.        State Land office

n.         Department of Agriculture

o.         UPEN

p.         Lembaga Urusan Air Selangor (LUAS)

q.         Indah Water Konsortium (IWK)

© 2018 Kennedy Michael & Haji Mansor Ghani

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