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Papar paddy farmers hit by water woes
Published on: Monday, September 23, 2019
By: Jeremy S Zabala

PAPAR: Paddy farmers at Kg Rampazan here are calling on the relevant department to hear their cries as water supply woes have badly affected nearly 200 acres the past four years.

Village Rice Seed Planting Scheme Chairperson Marciana Peter said implementation of the new Pan Borneo Highway road is believed to have “tampered” with their initial and existing water sources.

She said this was due to both points that acted as the input and output for their “natural” water supply have changed as the river now flows through two culverts through both areas.

“We have been previously relying on the man-made river which we call Sungai Jipu, believed to have been made since in the 50s, as the main supply.

“Unfortunately, the water does not flow as it used to for both areas. Where the culverts are located are faced with stagnant water which causes the current to be irregular and this has been a major ‘hit’ towards our paddy,” she added.

Marciana said the “unnatural” situation has also made their decades-long plantation miss a season not only due to the drought earlier but also for insufficient water supply.

At first, no complaints were made as the farmers thought the water congestion was due to the plants’ growth and took the initiative to clear the river to ensure smooth current.

However, she said the efforts turned fruitless as the water was still stagnant at the culvert, two points that were the input and output.

She also said the locals then highlighted this matter to the district Agriculture Department where an alternative was delivered to them as a lending hand – water pump.

Although the pump has helped the farmers, she said it has affected them in terms of economy as they had to fork out extra money for the fuel.

“The department has also helped us by writing a letter to the contractor in charge of the new highway and received a reply. But the response was unsatisfying as they (contractor) said that the culvert and water level suffices for our fields.

“We have never faced this problem and have relied on the natural water flow. But ever since the works have commenced, not only have we missed a harvesting season this year, we have to go the extra mile by spending more for the pump as our water supply,” she added.

Aside from the pump, Marciana said they have also relied on the rainy season for their fields. However, their best hope is also one of their worst nightmare.

She said several heavy downpours hit the district previously was never an issue but it is currently feared as the water that used to flood the fields would no longer naturally discharge to exit point – mainly due to the level.

“When heavy downpour occurs, the water would usually subside on its own. But now since there have been major changes to the location, the water will stay and flood our fields that we will need to use pumps or else our plantations will be destroyed.

“We are not trying to blame anyone or ask for compensation or allocation but we merely hope that the relevant department will hear us out to help us and solve this issue so we could carry out our farming activities as it used to be without incurring more expenses,” she added.

The Kampung Rampazan plantation field was initially divided by main Jalan Papar-Kota Kinabalu Lama but now has another road stretching parallel to the existing road.

It was seen at the location that both points of the said culverts which was placed below the new road was aimed at channeling water but seems to be stagnant and submerged.



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