Sabah has to explore integrated solution to water crisis, say International Water Association members

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 19 — Sabah has to explore an integrated solution in order to have a sustainable water supply development and not rely on a single method in battling the water crisis in the state.

International Water Association (IWA) (Coastal Sustainability and Estuarine Development) members Datuk Amarjit Singh and Lim Sin Poh said this considering world experts in a recent IWA conference held in China had agreed that integrated solutions to solve water and flood issues had to be exercised in the future.

Amarjit and Lim said land and sea should be integrated for the state’s water supply sustainability for the future generation instead of only focusing on building inland dams, and they suggested the construction of coastal reservoirs which are freshwater reservoirs located near shores that can be sited near river mouths with sustainable annual river flow.


They said coastal reservoirs will be very beneficial to the people around Kota Kinabalu, such as from the Sepanggar to Papar areas where the water supply can be distributed in the affected areas, considering the many complaints from the people about the lack of water supply here, especially in the Sepanggar area.

“The construction of a coastal reservoir involves forming an embankment across the point strategically to store fresh water from rivers before discharging them. It is not a new technology at the international level and has been successfully implemented for other countries but for Malaysia, especially for the state of Sabah, this is a paradigm the State government should pay attention to.

“Coastal reservoirs are seen as a new best alternative way to store water and act as a flood mitigation also to prevent disasters like the one that happened recently in the country of Libya where a dam had broken and resulted in natural damage and loss of life. The construction of dams does not necessarily bring only good. There are adverse effects of dam construction that exist before and after construction that should be considered. It not only affects the construction environment but can impact river mouths.


“Previously many leaders such as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president cum former Putatan Member of Parliament (MP) Awang Husaini Sahari and deputy division head Esther Othion have also stated coastal reservoir technology has the potential to solve the water crisis as it is a sustainable and nature-based solution for water problems and can make every drop count,” they said in a statement on Sunday.

On another note, Amarjit stressed for a Sabah Water Management Commission to be set up soon which would be responsible for initiating, coordinating and furthering consultations with the state governments concerned, schemes of control, as well as conservation and utilisation of water resources and water supply throughout the state.

He said the committee would also undertake the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required by the state government, and if established, it would serve as a premiere technical organisation for water management here. As such, he said all infrastructure associated in this process, including dams, will be regulated by the committee.

“The time has come for us to look at innovative steps while taking into account its pros and cons where this should be given attention and implemented if it is beneficial for the people,” said Amarjit. — Borneo Post


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