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Assurance on safety around Babagon Dam

Published on: Friday, January 17, 2014

Penampang: Residents here were reassured that water will not be released from the Babagon Dam should it overflow following heavy rain.

District Police Chief DSP Ratan Kumar Singh said there was nothing to worry about when it comes to the safety surrounding the Babagon Dam.

"There is no such thing as this dam about to break or water being released from the dam as rumoured via social media," he said, at the dam site.

Also present was the Water Department engineer in charge of West Coast division Teo Chee Kong and Corporate Dynamic Sdn Bhd Acting General Manager Doreen Benjamin Maladau.

Teo said an overflow of water from the 30sq. km catchment area will go into the spillway that will channel it out to the rivers and set off the siren to alert residents and children to stay away from downstream and not to swim or go fishing in the area.

"The discharge maximum capacity is 2,135 cubic metre per second and that is a lot of water, the current is very fast. Imagine what would happen if you are bathing downstream when a lot of water flows down," he said.

The dam was completed in 1997.

"The spillway is designed to nicely protect the dam.

It is concrete and designed by John Holland according to world design," he said, adding that there is no gate as such in the dam to release the water.

"We only have the spillway and the riparian which is about 10ml in size and for environmental usage," he said, adding that overflow will stop once water level gets back 130.5 metres (maximum water storage).

He advised the people to contact the Water Department Hotline at 088-711767 to verify information before jumping to conclusion.

Meanwhile, Doreen explained that Corporate Dynamic is the operator to the concessionaire Jetama who signed the agreement with the government on operation and maintenance of six water treatment plants, including the Babagon Dam.

"We have been around for 21 years where we have been operating and maintaining for Jetama," she said, adding it is usual to have overflows every year.

"We have installed sirens in the dam as well as at the school to alert residents downstream of the overflow but perhaps there was lack of understanding and lack of information from the right source," she said.