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PGRS: Better to channel water directly from Papar River than building dam

18th September, 2020


KOTA KINABALU: Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (PGRS) Limbahau candidate, Evelyn June Charlie (pic), has suggested channelling water from the Papar River directly into available treatment plants, negating construction of the controversial dam.

She questioned the previous government (Warisan) as to why they have insisted on building the dam, requiring a huge amount of taxpayers money given Sabah’s currently stunted economic growth.

“Kampung folks will be the first among the long line of others to feel the hurt with their homes destroyed and a total disruption of their way of life.

“They would be forced to vacate their ancestral grounds and even grave yards dug up to pave way for this new development.

“Worst of all, their means of income by way of agriculture will be a thing of the past,” she said.

Evelyn said the funding – costing well over several billion ringgit – would be better used towards raising the poverty line by helping the needy.

“I have on many occasions visited the proposed site along the Papar River which runs from the Crocker Range. The water is plentiful, never runs dry and is unaffected by droughts.

“The river provides more than sufficient supply to households in the Papar district,” she said.

The dam’s construction was originally proposed to solve a looming water crisis that would affect millions living in the West Coast by 2030, according to a 2015 study. By then, Sabah’s water reserves are expected to be depleted.

“Just filtering and treating the water would be the cheapest and most cost efficient way to provide safe consumable water for the people.

“As for the sea water, it can be cordoned off with a simple barrier across the river; easy enough to be designed by local engineers here and is cheap.

“In the meantime, we must look fast for other sources of water upstream in Membakut and Beaufort or other rivers for that matter for additional supplies in the West Coast,” she said.

Other alternatives she included, following a UMS study, was a rainfall catchment reserves and coastal reservoirs highly popular in first world countries.

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