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Treated water for 54,000 Papar consumers
Published on: Friday, March 15, 2024
By: Sidney Skinner
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Treated water for 54,000 Papar consumers
These rural folk brought empty basins, paint buckets, cooking pots and plastic bottles to be filled with the water from the Department’s tanker, when it went to Kg Belatik.
A FLEET of vehicles, including tankers and lorries, had been sending treated water to some 54,000 consumers in Papar severely impacted by the Limbahau Water Treatment Plant shutdown.

Production activities were halted 28 days ago due to the high salinity of the raw water entering the plant.

This was an unfortunate consequence of the prolonged dry spell in the State as seawater was finding its way into the Papar River and, inevitably, reaching the main intake for the Limbahau facility.

Kg Belatik residents queuing to get water from the tanker.

The mounting water crisis around the town prompted District Officer Mohd Fuad Abdullah to declare a drought emergency in Papar on Wednesday.

A Department spokesman said the lone tanker from its Papar branch was deployed to two villages that same night, namely to Kg Belatik and Kg Daingin.

“The vehicle can contain as much as 10,000 litres of water,” he said.

“A supply was delivered to the primary school, ‘surau (prayer hall)’ and metered-consumers in Kg Belatik.”

A hose was extended from the tanker to the storage tanks for the individual premises, where possible, at both villages so that these receptacles could be replenished, according to him.

Tap water is only available on the ground floor of Puncak Gloxinia on certain days of week.

In cases where this was not possible, he said, the residents had to come over to the tanker with their empty containers to get some water.

“We have two three-tonne lorries at our disposal. They were used to deliver a supply to Kg Baun, Kg Balailait, Kg Bundusan and Kg Melugus around the same time.”

Earlier this week, the tanker made trips to Kg Pengalat Besar and Kg Pengalat Kecil. He said the Department had also engaged the services of four private tanker drivers, whose vehicles could hold up to 20,000 litres of water.

The agency had also roped in the assistance of the Member of Parliament for Papar to obtain the use of another two three-tonne lorries, according to him.

On top of these vehicles, the spokesman said the Papar office was gearing up to lend another 10,000 litre tanker from its Ranau counterpart.

He said the drivers of the tankers and lorries, which the Department had in hand, were working flat out to keep up with the long list of requests for water.

“They often have to work late into the night to make these deliveries. Priority is accorded to servicing hospitals, schools and ‘rumah ibadat (places of worship)’ around the town.

A hose was extended from the tanker to replenish the storage tank at this premises in the village.

“We have enlisted the input of the District Office to help us co-ordinate the delivery efforts.”

In the case of Kg Belatik, he said the consumers had been feeling the pinch of the shortage for some time already as the village was located towards the end of the Department’s distribution line.

“Besides our metered-consumers, there are also some residents in the village who used a gravity-feed to draw water from a natural source.

“Many of these sources have since depleted due to the hot weather and extreme temperatures.”

He advised those with a gravity-feed to contact the “Unit Pemimpin Pembangunan Masyarakat (UPPM)” (Community Development Leader’s Unit) for Bongawan for assistance.

Meanwhile, the Department is keeping tabs on the supply to Puncak Gloxinia, in the Kinarut area, to ensure that the property receives some treated water.

Over the past 28 day-period, the spokesman said, a water rationing exercise had been implemented in some parts of Papar, including Kinarut.

“The condominium receives an incoming supply on some days.

On other days, treated water is channelled elsewhere around the district to give those in these areas a chance to get some relief.

“We will try to push what we can to Puncak Gloxinia to offer the condominium-owners some relief.

“But, there is only so much we can do without the output from the Limbahau Treatment Plant.”

Under normal circumstances, about 14 million litres of water is produced daily at the Limbahau facility.

The Kogopon Treatment Plant, on the other hand, generates an estimated 40 million litres daily (MLD).

The Emergency Water Supply Scheme facility in the Mandalipau area generates between 8-10mld. 

The Department has been facing an uphill trying to meet the demands of its Papar consumers with the combined output from the latter Plants.

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