Highway project caused water woes in Suai, Niah last week, says JBALB

A JBALB contractor delivering emergency water supply to Rumah Robert.

KUCHING, June 15: Residents of Suai and Niah experienced water disruptions during the Hari Raya celebration last week because the main water lines were damaged by work on the proposed Pan Borneo Highway.

Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) clarified in a statement that five cases of damaged water pipes were reported so far this year in Suai and Niah areas, including mechanical damage to the water treatment plant on June 5, which caused the water disruption as reported by a local daily on June 7.

In its article, the daily quoted Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing as saying that many more areas continued to face water supply issues despite numerous complaints to the relevant authorities.

Tiong stressed that those responsible for carrying out the repairs and upgrades must face the grievances of those who continued to be plagued by the incessant water woes.

“It is frustrating that even during the festive season, residents have to face these water supply interruptions. With no water to use, can you expect them to enjoy their festival?

“When there is no water, is it necessary for the residents to take a bath with the muddy water of oil palm estates?” Tiong reportedly told reporters covering his Hari Raya visit to Kampung Madinah, Suai, on June 7.

Affected villagers filling up their water storage tanks.

JBALB assured that the mechanical damage at the water treatment plant in Suai was fixed at 2am on June 6, but several areas experienced water lock; hence, air flushing works were done.

“At the same time, JBALB delivered emergency water supplies to affected areas such as to Rumah Robert, Suai Health Clinic and SK Batu Telingai,” said JBALB.

The department said water supply was back to normal on June 11, but areas still affected by incessant water supply issues would be addressed in stages this week.

“We are very concerned with his issue and have prepared two action plans to improve the delivery of water supply in Suai. First, we will improve the existing delivery system. Two, projects have and will be carried out for this, which are Project Rakyat under the NR2 Package and the Suai Water Supply Complex Phase 2,” it said.

The Projek Rakyat involved upgrading the mechanical components of the Suai Treatment Plant and setting up a new booster pump station near the Forest Research Centre at Sungai Sebubok Niah. It is expected to be fully completed by next year.

The Suai Water Supply Complex Phase 2 project would involve setting up three overhead tanks at Sepupok, Batang Suai and at KM125. They are expected to be completed in 2022.

JBALB said the two initiatives would greatly improve the delivery of treated water supply along Jalan Batang Suai, Miri-Bintulu Coastal Road, Jalan Miri-Bintulu, Jalan Kampung Lajong, Jalan Ladang Tiga, Tadika Kemas Rh Robert, SK Batu Telingai, Suai, Suai Rural Clinic, Rumah Robert area and the Suai Complex area.

In that respect, the Ministry of Utilities urged the public in the affected areas there to immediately alert JBALB if there are water disruptions by calling the department’s Miri office at 085-442204. — DayakDaily