Sabah's water supply reserve margin low at 7.3 pct - Armizan

10 Jun 2023 08:44pm
Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.
Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.

PAPAR - Sabah’s water supply reserve margin was low at 7.3 per cent as at the end of last year, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.

He said Sabah, Perlis and Melaka are the only states with a water supply reserve margin of below 10 per cent.

Armizan, who is also Papar MP, said Penang and Terengganu have a comfortable reserve margin exceeding 20 per cent while that for Selangor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Johor is moderate at between 10 and 20 per cent.

"If we look at the main towns (in Sabah) including the Greater Kota Kinabalu area, the reserve margin is at a negative rate, meaning we lack treated water sources. But this has not yet factored in the question of water leakages which worsen the water supply reaching consumers.

"Some say a 7.3 per cent reserve margin is still good but it is not because we are grappling with problems in the supply system, apart from non-revenue water. So, the water supply situation becomes serious,” he told a press conference after a special briefing on the Papar Dam construction project, here, today.

Greater Kota Kinabalu refers to economic development areas in the west coast of Sabah involving five districts, namely Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Penampang, Putatan and Papar.

Armizan said as a long-term solution to the problem of low reserve margin, Papar has been identified as one of the places for building dams.

"To resolve the water supply issue in North Greater Kota Kinabalu, we have the Telibong Phase Two LRA (Water Treatment Plant) project and for the Southern part we have Kogopon Phase Two LRA project but these plans are medium-term solutions.

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"For the long term, we still need dams as water sources to overcome our water supply problems. It is feared the situation will become more critical if no immediate solution is found. Preliminary studies have been conducted and four locations have been proposed for this dam,” he said.

Without disclosing the locations involved, he said the specifications for the proposed dam would depend on its location but the project consultants have yet to finalise their studies due to several factors, including issues within the community.

Armizan said the proposed dam should not be just for resolving the water supply issue but should come together with a socio-economic development package to benefit the local community.

"At the briefing session, it was decided that a Special Task Force on Socio-Economic Development for Papar Dam Area Community be established as a catalyst to provide recommendations on a socio-economic development plan which will be forwarded to the state government,” he added. - BERNAMA