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City Hall mulls treated water delivery to 19 villages
Published on: Wednesday, April 03, 2024
By: Sidney Skinner
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City Hall mulls treated water delivery to 19 villages
Some mothers do their laundry at Sg Keliangau while their children take a dip inside.
CITY Hall is arranging to have treated water delivered to the rural community, who receive water via a gravity system, at 19 villages within its rating area.

A spokesman for the agency said it had received feedback that these individuals were struggling to get by during the present dry spell in the State.

“The respective ‘Ketua Kg’ (Village Chiefs) contacted our ‘Pusat Kawalan Operasi Becana (Disaster Operations Control Centre)’ about the plight of their local communities,” he said.

“We were made to understand that the natural water sources, on which the affected residents depended, were either drying up or had vanished completely due to the prolonged hot weather.”

He said 12 of the villages, which would be receiving assistance from City Hall, were in Manggatal while the rest were in Inanam.

Much of the river has dried up during the dry spell, with only the polished stones on the river bed left behind.

Among the former, he said, were Kg Tebobon Bukit, Kg Keliangau, Kg Mansiang, Kg Muhibbah Baru, Kg Dato, Kg Lobou Satu, Kg Lobou Aman, Kg Kepayan Baru, Kg Lanit, Kg Rakyat Baru, Kg Naalap and Kg Binaung. 

“The villages in Inanam include Kg Karumbiyaan, Kg Talimakas, Kg Kionsom Tengah, Kg Kiambalang, Kg Dambai, Kg Tenggiling, Kg Tamalang Silou.”

He said the agency was in the process of trying to find contractors who could transport a supply up the hilly terrain where many of these rural folk lived.

“We hope to secure the services of suitable tanker-drivers soon and begin making these delivery before the coming Hari Raya celebrations.”

He advised those with a gravity-feed in the Sepanggar area to channel their requests for help to the Sepanggar Member of Parliament.

A Water Department spokesman said it was helpless to intervene in this situation – other than providing the local authorities with treated water – as the gravity system was not under the its jurisdiction.

“In the case of Kota Kinabalu, we are waiting for City Hall to provide us with the details of the tankers, namely their registration plate numbers and capacity, so that we can provide the drivers with the water they need to help the affected villagers,” he said. 

He said the Department had set up “depots” where tanker-drivers could go to load up on treated water.

“Those servicing areas in the Northern Zone – including Inanam, Manggatal and Sepanggar – can make their way to our Tuaran branch, 

“Where villages around Penampang and Putatan are concerned, drivers can head to our Gaya Park office. These districts fall under the Southern Zone.”

A Manggatal man fills up a bucket at these pockets of water in the river.

HAFIFI of Manggatal spoke out about the acute water woes at homes on higher ground in Kg Keliangau during the present drought.

“There are about 44 households living at an elevation and they do not have pipes going to their premises,” he said. “These families depend on a gravity-feed.”

Given the excessively hot conditions in the State, however, the water from the hills had long since evaporated, according to him.

Hafifi said the houses in this part of the village were divided into five zones: Mawar, Anggerik, Bunga Raya, Melor and Rafflesia.

“Many of the rural folk from these zones have to come down to draw water from Sungai Keliangau but, much of the river has dried up, with only the polished stones on the bed visible in many places.

He said the pockets of river water which remained became places where these villagers took a bath or washed their clothes. 

“Some have no choice but to recycle this water to drink and cook, regardless of how unhygienic it is to do so, as they can ill afford to keep buying mineral water to get by.”

Hafifi said there had been rumours circulating in the village about the possibility of “bantuan air (water aid)” being given to those who did not have a water meter.

He wanted to know if there was any truth to this. 

“I hope the parties responsible for dispensing this assistance will have clean water delivered regularly and systematically for the benefit of everyone staying on higher ground, especially those with mobility problems such as the elderly and pregnant mums.”

He said the latter group would surely find it a strain to carry water up to their homes.

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