Improvements in the pipeline

(The Star) #1

KUCHING: The state government will allocate RM2.8bil to resolve water supply issues in rural areas in the next two years.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said 247 projects had been identified for implementation by the state Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) starting next January and scheduled for completion by 2020.

He said the projects included water treatment plants, distribution network systems, improvement works, pipe replacement, non-revenue water management and modernisation initiatives as well as projects under the Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (Sawas).

“There is still a lot to be done to supply water to rural people. Water supply is a problem in many rural areas.

“So the state is allocating RM2.8bil for infrastructure development to get sources of water in stressed areas and solve distribution problems to get supply right to consumers’ homes,” he said when opening the Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibition and Conference 2018 here yesterday.

Visitor Tan Thien Thien checking out a water tank model at the Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibition and Conference 2018 in Kuching.
Abang Johari said this was the first phase in the government’s plans to improve water supply and distribution in the state.

In the next phase, he said, the state would embark on building a new water supply grid to provide Sarawakians with clean water.

“Our hydro dams can be used as a supply of raw water to be processed and distributed through the grid,” he said.

He also said the government planned to digitalise its water management through a data centre at JBALB headquarters.

“This will enable us to manage our water distribution more efficiently. All the data will be stored in a central server, so any problems can be alerted immediately and resolved,” he said.

Meanwhile, Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi said the state government was developing a wastewater management system for major urban centres to protect water resources and the environment.

A participant looking at a water filter machine at the event.
He said master plans for wastewater management had been drawn up for Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu and were being finalised for Kota Samarahan, Sarikei and Mukah.

“In line with these master plans, we have embarked on the construction and commissioning of centralised sewerage systems for Kuching, Miri and Bintulu,” he said, adding that septic sludge treatment facilities would also be provided for smaller towns in the near future.