This paper looks at how water ethics manifest in the coordination among agencies involved in river management in Malaysia. The study employs the case of the Gombak River, the most polluted river in Malaysia which runs through some densely populated urban centers. More specifically, the paper examines inter-agency coordination issues between the Department of Environment (DOE), Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) in managing river pollution. Research data were gathered through scientific testing of water quality and levels of pollution at several points along the Gombak River, and by expert interviews with officers from related agencies involved in managing the river. The study reveals two major findings: first, that the river is significantly polluted and that the levels of pollution upstream are less than those downstream; and second, that despite numerous pieces of legislation already in place, there is a lassitude in the enforcement efforts due to poor inter-agency communication and coordination. As such, it is imperative that the agencies involved in river management undertake cohesive measures to ensure that the river is managed well and its water quality controlled. The study recommends that a more structured coordination mechanism between these agencies be put in place.

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