Six water plants ‘dried up’ in East Coast


KOTA KINABALU: Six water treatment plants in Tawau and Semporna have dried up as the Sabah government is grappling with the dry spell situation.

The water situation remains critical despite sporadic rainfalls to some areas in the West Coast, which is also facing issue with its Telibong water treatment plant, as thousands of consumers from Bandar Sierra township to Jalan Tuaran bypass experienced dry taps.

On Sunday, Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony said that they were ready mobilise tankers to send water to the affected consumers in Tawau and Semporna as they might look at the option of cloud seeding if the situation worsens.

Speaking to reporters to mark World Water Day run in Penampang, Anthony said that since the dry spell begun in February, 14 of their water treatment plants remained in critical condition as river water level takes a drastic dip.

“With rains over the last few days most areas in the waters catchments in Keningau, Papar and Penampang, the situation is no longer critical in west coast and interior areas.

“The situation now is only critical in Tawau and Semporna which is affecting the six treatment plants,” he said. The situation there (Semporna and Tawau) should improve if it begins to rain in the area, Peter said, adding that the treatment plant’s pump in Tawau is unable to suck in water as of Sunday.

“We are monitoring the situation closely,” he said.

Although the annual rainfall in the state is high, dry spells could trigger droughts and the state could face water shortages during certain periods, he added.

He said the government was considering building water storage facilities in every district to create reserves enough for at least three to four months.

Meanwhile, consumers along the Jalan Tuaran bypass are scrambling to find water as most of their tanks have dried up too.

Residents in several high rise apartments including those at Puri Warisan are desperate for water. Many have placed calls to the new complaint line 088326888 and were told about the Telibong plant breakdown.

“We don’t know how long the problem is going to be, as the helpline receptionist also did not know the cause. “This is troubling as now we have to resort to buying bottled water to cook,” fumed a resident at Puri Warisan.

The situation is similar across the road from Puri Warisan where residential areas and Bukit Harapan, a home for disabled people, are located.

The Home, which houses some 60 residents, had to resort to buying water from a private water supplier, who uses tankers to deliver the commodity. The supplier charges RM250 for equivalent of 10 drums (42 gallons per drum).

Apparently, the Water Department’s water tankers were unavailable to dispense water to the affected areas.

“From what I was told, its only tanker was in Papar yesterday (Sunday) and could not help us,” said the Puri Warisan resident, identified as Adam.

Previously, the Water Department had said existing water capacity from the Phase 1 Telibong plant with 80 million litres daily (MLD) could not cater to demand in Bandar Sierra Apartments and Taman Rimba in Telipok.

Completion of the Federal-funded project in three years’ time would provide 160 MLD which is double its phase 1 water production capacity of 80 MLD.

By :
New Sabah Times