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Unfinished work behind water woes
Published on: Friday, December 01, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Unfinished work behind water woes
The ‘sluice valve’ being changed at the Department’s pump-house in Telipok.
THE Water Department is monitoring the supply to a Tuaran village and Manggatal commercial centre, following feedback about the water woes at these locations.

A Kg Rugading homeowner was without a drop of tap water for a few days recently.

A proprietor at University Plaza, on the other hand, bemoaned the weak pressure of the incoming supply to her massage parlour on the first floor. She was periodically forced to suspend her business due to the diminishing volume of water inside the storage tanks for the premises.

Both consumers provided Hotline with the relevant details, including their address, which were forwarded to the agency.

A Department spokesman said some unfinished work related to the realignment of some distribution mains at the section of Jalan Tuaran, near the junction to the Jalan Norowot, was to blame for the problems which consumers in the village experienced.

“These pipes were shifted on Monday to accommodate the construction of the Pan-Borneo highway in this part of the district,” he said.

“The relocation effort got underway in the morning and was finished later that same day.”

The Department also replaced a 300 millimetre “sluice valve” at its booster pumphouse in Telipok around the same time, according to him.

He said activities at the agency’s Telibong II Treatment Plant, which had been halted temporarily, resumed shortly after both jobs were done, with the supply being restored in stages to the affected areas.

The spokesman said the technicians entrusted to move the distribution line, however, failed to complete the work properly.

“We realised that something was not right when we began receiving complaints that there was no water in the village and at premises in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (Zone 5).

“Our staff later found that some of the pipes had not been reconnected as they should.”

He said the earlier technicians returned to correct their oversight. 

“Consumers in the village and at KKIP regained their tap water on Wednesday afternoon.

“Nevertheless, for the time being, our personnel are keeping an eye on what’s happening on Jalan Norowot to ensure that the supply remains stable.”

When asked if treated water could have been delivered to those in the village during the period when their taps had run dry, he said it would have been difficult to do this.

“There is a long-waiting list of consumers waiting for our tanker’s assistance.” 

A different group of the Department’s staff is monitoring the goings on at University Plaza, according to another spokesman.

He said these personnel were trying to nab the errant parties who had been meddling with the agency’s installations servicing the commercial centre, according to another spokesman.

“The valve at one section of the distribution mains along the main road here has been repeatedly tampered with off late,” he said.

“The unscrupulous individuals disturb our water-balancing and pressure-management settings for the area by doing this. 

“Their meddling has contributed to the water problems at University Plaza, not to mention at the other commercial and residential properties nearby.” 

The spokesman said the Department had been facing an uphill task trying to catch the culprits, as well as deal with the incidents of water theft in the area where the valve was situated.

“We have been carrying out disconnection exercises here regularly,” the spokesman said.

“Our personnel remove the illegal connections made to our distribution mains only to find new ones attached to the pipes a few days later.”

He said the Department was in the midst of brainstorming on how best to counter this pilferage.

“We do have a potential plan for overcoming this problem and are just waiting to receive an allocation before putting it in action.”

The spokesman said anyone who made “an unlawful connection of a service pipe to a public mains or to another service pipe serving another premises” could be deemed to have contravened the Water Supply Enactment 2003.

“Offenders risk having to settle a fine for as much RM100,000, serve a jail term of up to one year or both.” 

In cases where the wrongdoing was committed by a corporate body, he said the management could be held liable for a fine of up to RM500,000.

The spokesman said its staff went to University Plaza, shortly after being contacted by the media 

“They confirmed that the supply was reaching the bulk-meter. The strength of water, at the time, was deemed to be acceptable.”

He said the same was also true of the water pressure at the individual meters for the shops there.

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