KWB, JBALB tasked to monitor safety, security at Bengoh dam
Posted on : 02 Nov 2016
KUCHING: Public Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi has ordered the Kuching Water Board (KWB) and Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) to monitor the situation at Bengoh dam and strive to solve any pressing issue without compromising the safety and security of the site.

It is learned that there are still people carrying out activities such as agriculture near and around the dam.

“Unlike hydro (electricity) dams, the Bengoh dam is a raw water reservoir meant to supply potable water to Kuching, Samarahan and parts of Serian. As such, there should not be any activity near it that could pollute the water there.

“I know the complexity involved in managing, operating and maintaining safety and security at the dam – it is a very tough job to do. However, I’m confident that KWB will find an amicable solution to this without compromising the aspects of safety and security of the dam,” he said in his opening remarks at the launch of ‘Bengoh Dam External Emergency Plan Lab’ at Grand Margherita Hotel here yesterday.

He added that the agencies could meet the people and inform them in a more detailed manner about the implication of contaminating the water resource at the dam.

On the lab programme, Dr Rundi said the objectives were to develop a proper communication chain during emergency situations, to establish an early warning system for the affected villages, and to determine a safe area for the affected villagers during evacuation.

“The lab is to create awareness of the need to adopt and integrate long-term approach, planning and utilisation of safety procedures, to understand the impact of dam’s safety engineering and also to ensure the sustainability for our future generations.

“Hence, the community leaders in Bengoh need to be aware of and understand the safety measures related to the dam. You must know the processes on how to evacuate them (villagers) in the event of emergency including the flow of mobility during such incident.

“I hope that the meeting of minds under this external emergency plan lab will result in some practical solutions and also help inform the government about the decisions that need to be made to protect the safety of our precious water resources and our quality of life.”

On another matter, Dr Rundi pointed that Sarawak had been tasked with achieving 100-per cent water supply coverage for its population by 2025, which he regarded as an uphill task especially for the JBALB.

However, he assured all that efforts were underway towards achieving this vision.

At present, the treated water supply coverage for the state is at 80.5 per cent.

“However, this is a rough estimate as we have yet to receive report or feedback from the three divisions (Kuching, Limbang and Miri). Once we receive all the reports, I believe the coverage of water supply across Sarawak will probably be 82.6 per cent.

“It is very important to have a complete mapping of water supply in our state, as the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem is very concerned about the supply of water especially in the rural areas,” Dr Rundi said.

The two-day lab involves representatives of 40 villages, 11 schools, Kuching Resident’s Office, Kuching District, Bengoh Sub-District and agencies such as Natural Resources and Environment Broad (NREB), Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) and the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID).

The launch ceremony was also attended by Assistant Minister for Public Health Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Assistant Minister for Public Utilities (Water Supply) Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, permanent secretary to Public Utilities Ministry Datu Ubaidillah Abdul Latip, JBALB director Daniel Wong and KWB general manager Mohamad Sabari Shakeran.

Extracted from Newspaper The Borneo Post Wednesday, 2nd November 2016