Big allocation to ensure 100% water supply coverage throughout Sarawak

by BERNAMA / pic by AFP

MIRI – The Sarawak government, through the Utilities Ministry, has made detailed plans and prepared a big allocation to ensure that there will be 100 per cent water supply coverage throughout the state.

Sarawak Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the ministry has allocated RM8.28 billion to implement 606 water supply development projects in the state from 2017 to 2021.

He said the implementation of the projects relied on two strategies, the Sarawak Water Grid System and the Sarawak Alternative Water Supply Programme (SAWAS).

“Currently, 231 projects have been completed, 227 are still being implemented and 148 are in the planning phase. The water supply projects have to be carefully planned, as they are costly, to ensure the ministry’s vision of achieving 100 per cent water supply coverage by 2025 is realised,” he told Bernama.

He said the current water supply coverage in Sarawak was 84.3 per cent, with 99 per cent in urban areas and 66.5 per cent in rural areas.

Dr Rundi said currently the Sarawak Water Grid System main plan was made according to zones, with the south zone under the supervision of the Kuching Water Board (KWB), the central zone under the Sibu Water Board and the north zone under the Northern Region Water Board (LAKU).

“We planned to combine all agencies into a single entity…it means all water supply agencies in Sarawak would be under a single authority, the Sarawak Water Authority, hence, will give a more comprehensive planning impact,” he added.

The most important thing in the planning of this grid involved four main components, water supply, water treatment plants, delivery systems and consumer prospects, he said.

“In the South zone, for instance, we have water sources from the Bengoh Dam that can produce two million litres of water daily that is treated at Batu Kitang water treatment plant and then channeled using high level tanks or water pumps up to Sebuyau (about110 kilometres from Kuching),” he said.

Meanwhile, SAWAS, is a Sarawak government initiative, implemented  through the Rural Water Supply Department, to provide water supply to isolated settlements and areas in the interior that have yet to obtain clean and safe water supply.

SAWAS is the best reverse-osmosis technology used to treat water from nearby rivers to supply clean treated water to local residents.

Dr Rundi said since development of water supply through the grid system took years to complete, the SAWAS programme was implemented to provide treated water for the community in the remote areas.

To date, he said , the state government has supplied a total of 56,044 units of water tanks worth more than RM76 million.

“For the Sebauh area in Bintulu alone, a total of 10 longhouses (Rh)  involving 339 doors, have received water supply through SAWAS. Among them are Rh. Banta, Rh. Unchau, Rh. Alip Long Unan, Rh. Irai Anak Gaseng, Rh. Enteri Anak Andeng and Rh. Ampie Anak Egang, involving cost of about RM42 million,” he added.