Pumps to blame for dry taps in Luyang
Published on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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The contractor’s staff repairing the duty-pump at the Dept’s pump-house near the State Museum.
Consumers in Taman BPL were without tap water for several days, after the inclement weather which the State Capital experienced in the middle of September, partly because the pumps servicing properties this section of Jalan Kebajikan broke down.

Many in the Luyang neighbourhood were forced to depend on bottled water and wet wipes to get by.

One homeowner had to get her aged mother to put on adult diapers because her toilets could not be used without a supply.

She provided Hotline with the location of her residence, as well as the date of the disruption. This information was forwarded to the Water Department. 

A spokesman for the agency said technical faults rendered both the primary pump and the stand-by one inoperative.

“This came to light when our staff checked the pump-house near the State Museum, shortly after we were contacted by the media,” he said on September 20.

“We managed to restore the duty pump the next day and are trying to do the same for the other device.”

He said the Department’s contractor was in the midst of sorting out the problem with the motor for the stand-by pump. 

When asked how both devices could have malfunctioned simultaneously, he said it was a case of “bad timing”.

“The pumps are checked once every two or three months, according to a fixed schedule.

“This periodic maintenance involves ensuring that the control panel, including the automatic sensor, works as it should. The pumps’ components are also greased as and when this becomes necessary.

The pressure of the water at Taman BPL was found to be strong.

“Despite this effort, we could not have foreseen that both of them would break down at once.”

He said the Department’s staff had since been instructed to step-up their inspections of this pump-house to prevent this problem from recurring.

“They were asked to be especially mindful of any blackouts that may occur around the Museum area, in case the pump doesn’t come on by itself and has to be manually reactivated.”

The problems in Taman BPL were aggravated further due to a City-wide shortage which took place about the same time that the pumps failed, according to him.

He explained that the heavy rains on September 15 caused the Moyog river to swell, prompting the Department to shutdown the Kasigui Treatment Plant that same afternoon.

The spokesman said operations at the facility only resumed a few days later, once water levels in the river had sufficiently receded.

“Even with the normal output from our Moyog Plant and Madsiang intake, the total amount of treated water produced daily, during this period, was not enough to cater for the demands from the millions of consumers around Kota Kinabalu.

“We recorded a drop in production of 13 per cent. So for a time, a rationing-exercise was implemented around the State Capital.”

Besides Taman BPL and other parts of Luyang, consumers in Kepayan, Tanjung Aru, Signal Hill, Likas, Tanjung Lipat, Kolombong, Inanam, Bukit Padang, Penampang, Kobusak, Donggongon, Putatan, Kg Ketiau, Petagas and Lok Kawi also felt the impact of the shortage.

On top of this, the supply woes were felt along Jalan Penampang Baru, Jalan Penampang-Papar Lama, Jalan Papar Baru, Jalan Pintas Donggongon, Jalan Panglima Banting and Jalan Bundusan, as well as near the Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association building and Kota Kinabalu International Airport (Terminal 1). 

RONNIE, who lives along Lorong Budaya, took the Department to task for leaving her without tap water for days on end.

“I haven’t been able to bathe or use my toilets for more than four days,” she said.

“Me and my family, including my elderly mum, run the risk of contracting Covid-19 because we cannot clean up properly.” 

She said he had phoned the Department almost every day since the problem first began.

Ronnie said this was not the first time that she had experienced water woes in Taman BPL.

“My supply has been intermittent for the past two months, with the taps in my house running dry for hours at a time.

“When my water next returns, it is murky. I have to let the supply run for some time afterwards before it becomes clear again.” 

The spokesman said the agency’s staff went to the housing road where she lived after becoming aware of her water problems.

“They cleared any air-locks inside the mains leading to her metre and checked on the pressure of the water,” he said.

“They found that the strength and quality of the supply was acceptable at the time.”

He said, if need be, the Department would consider having the transmission pipes there flushed to clear any sediment which might have caked on the circumference inside. 


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