Abang Jo urges authorities to adopt technology solutions to water supply management

Abang Johari (third right) together with other distinguished guests cutting the anniversary cake as fireworks light up. Also seen are Dr Rundi (fourth left) and Mohd Asfia (third left).

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Oct 15: The Ministry of Utilities and Kuching Water Board (KWB) have been urged to implement a central data system to better manage water supply facilities and operations in greater Kuching.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the ministry and KWB which is the state’s pioneer water supply authority need to consider a forward looking approach in managing water supply utility for the increasing population.

The approach, he said, should take into consideration three factors, namely population, delivery (processes including volume of water), and areas of jurisdiction in view of the fact that Kuching is aiming to be a smart city.

“Firstly, we need to find new sources of water. Sarawak has rivers and there is technology now to convert river water to be consumable,” he said during the KWB 60th anniversary celebration dinner at a hotel here tonight.

“Secondly, plant management with a data system. I want the water board to have a central data system like pipe mapping to store important data including supply of water and distribution of water,” he said.

Noting the need to replace old pipes, which are 60-years-old or older and at risk of leakage, with new pipes, he added that pipe maps should be stored in the system for convenience in indentifying problems.

“Just like JKR (Public Works Department) and Land and Survey Department which already have a system in place and the public or consumers can access. KWB has to change their style in managing water supply by having this central data system,” he pointed out.

“Third is on maintenance and repair. There must be some kind of back up services in which when consumers complain, you can immediately know what is the problem and this information should also be reflected in the central data system,” he added.

Abang Johari emphasised that it was crucial to look into the future and move forward in water supply management for Sarawak because the population will continue to increase and consumers are getting smarter.

“Kuching is growing from a population of 60,000… and if we include Samarahan, the population now is almost 1 million. Therefore, you need to be a smart utility and smart approaches are needed to meet the needs of today’s consumers,” he said.

Seen are Abang Johari (in white suit) and other distinguished guests after the official launching of the new KWB logo.

Concerning the construction of various major bridges in the state, Abang Johari disclosed that requests have been forwarded to the relevant authorities to enable these structures to carry pipes to connect and deliver water supply to rural areas.

“Looking at the history of water supply services, the source of water was at Matang and (water) transferred to Kuching via the Satok bridge,” he shared.

“That’s why when the bridge collapsed, I rebuilt the bridge again to remind about the importance of the purposes of the bridge — one to (enable people and goods to) cross the river and second, to carry pipes along to distribute water to Kuching,” he added.

The state government, he pointed out, has allocated RM2.8 billion to be spent over two years to expand water supply to areas facing water stress.

“You (the people) can guarantee that as long as the state government is in control, you will have water because we have a way to move forward and (plan on) how to manage water in future,” he assured.

Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar were among those present.

The celebration also witnessed the launching of KWB’s new logo and the presentation of certificates of appreciation to KWB’s 2018 retirees. — DayakDaily