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Water woes due to metal thieves
Published on: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Water woes due to metal thieves
Water Department staff accompany the police during their inspection of the Kingfisher pumphouse.
Metal thieves are partly to blame for the water woes which consumers in Taman Kingfisher have been experiencing the past few days.

Water Department personnel, checking on reports about the lack of supply in the Inanam neighbourhood on Saturday found that its pumphouse, off Jalan Raja Udang, had been broken into.

A spokesman for the agency said the trespassers forcefully opened the padlock on the front gate, before fashioning “a hole” in one section of the wall at the back of the building.

“Thankfully, neither the duty nor stand-by pumps inside were visibly damaged,” he said.

“However, the thieves tampered with the cables inside the control panel and the ones leading to this housing. They cut these power lines but, for whatever reason, did not make away with their loot.”

The duty and standby pumps did not appear to have been tampered with.

He said the Police were informed about the attempted pilferage and an officer made an inspection of the premises that same morning.

“Our technicians later replaced the damaged cables which allowed the duty pump to run. “Those living and working in the Kingfisher area regained their supply, once sufficient pressure had built up in the pipes leading to their individual premises.”

The spokesman said this was the second time that the pumphouse had been targeted by metal thieves this year, with the perpetrators making away with the cables in the earlier instance. He said the Police were still trying to identify the errant parties behind both break-ins.

“In the meantime, a guard has been stationed on the grounds to deter any more unauthorised entries.”

He said the agency was also looking at other strategies to improve the security of the pumphouse.

“We are seriously deliberating over the likelihood of replacing the existing fence with a new one which has an ‘anti-climb’ feature.”

Despite declining to specify the nature of this feature, the spokesman did not rule out the possibility that the fence might very well be electrified.

When asked how often maintenance was carried out on the two pumps, he said this was done according to a fixed schedule.

“They are checked once every two or three months. 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.”

On top of the recent vandalism, the spokesman said the water woes in Taman Kingfisher were drawn out further by the temporary shutdown of the Telibong II Treatment Plant on Monday.

“This was done to allow a ‘system input volume’-meter to be replaced,” he said on March 14.

“The device facilitates our water-balancing calculations for the Plant.”

The vandals entered through a ‘hole’ they had fashioned in a wall behind the pumphouse.

Besides the neighbourhood, he said taps also ran dry in Sulaman Sentral, the Bandar Sierra Shops, Nexus Karambunai, Karambunai Villa, the MARA Vocational Institute, the Fire and Rescue Services Department Quarters, Taman Sepanggar, Taman Canggih Tuaran Bypass, Rimbunan Hijau Residences, Malawa Ria Apartments, University Apartments 1, University Prime Condominiums, University Utama Condominiums

Those in Kg Likas, Kg Lokub, Kg Unggun Jaya, Kg Tebobon Bukit, Kg Muhibbah and Kg Keliangau were similarly without treated water.

Consumers along Jalan Datu, as well as in the Indah Permai and Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park areas, felt the pinch too.

The spokesman said the Department circulated public notices about the shutdown, over social media, several times from the first week of March.

As of Tuesday morning, the spokesman said about 40 per cent of the replacement work had been completed so far.

“We hope to fully install the meter by the end of the day so that production activities can resume at Telibong II.

“Consumers should gradually regain their supply in stages within two to three days afterwards, once there is enough pressure in the distribution mains servicing their respective areas.”

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