Kampung Beliong island community facing severe water disruption for over a month now

Even though Kampung Beliong, where the famous Beliong Chinese Temple sits, is surrounded by water, villagers are currently facing severe water disruption issues that has caused great inconvenience for over a month now.

By D’Drift Team

ASAJAYA, Oct 12: The State government and water utility authorities have been urged to fix the water disruption problem at Kampung Beliong here which has lasted for a month now and caused great inconvenience for over 3,000 residents in nine villages living in the small island that is only reachable by a short boat crossing.

Kapitan Liu Ted Kong learnt that the water disruption was due to a burst pipe near Sungai Bintulu, which has yet to be fixed.

“A little bit of water comes through normally at midnight but it is muddy. Despite this, we still have to save up for daily use because it is cut off at day time.

“The water supply is low and limited, so the residents mainly relied on collected rain water in the meantime. It has affected the entire island community,” the told the D’Drift Team when met on Monday.

Liu Ted Kong

However, he said that residents have to be prudent with water usage as there was hardly any rainfall throughout the last month to enable residents to continuously harvest and store enough rainwater to meet their needs.

“I only used two pails of water for a bath today. This issue must be addressed urgently as water is really essential to the people’s daily lives especially in the hot weather season. We need water for drinking.

“We hope the government and relevant authorities can quickly resolve the issue as it has lasted for a really long time,” he urged.

Liu, who owns a small grocery store that has been in operation for over 40 years in a shoplot directly behind the Beliong Chinese Temple, said the coffeeshop there cannot even operate due to scarcity of water.

He suggested that the government replace the old water pipes which had burst with new ones as well as build an elevated water storage tank with a booster pump to ensure water supply reliability to the Beliong island community, which currently has three schools.

“Before the pipes leaked, water supply was strong and more reliable but ever since the pipes burst, the situation has gotten worse in recent weeks.

“Without a new facility, I don’t think there will be sufficient water supply to meet the needs of nine villages here,” he added.

Most of the businesses at the shoplot behind Beliong Chinese Temple where Liu operates a grocery store are closed due to the scarcity of water.

On the impact of Covid-19 on economic activities, he observed there was little disruption to the small island community even though there were a few cases reported among the villagers.

“There has been no major effect. Now that the movement restrictions have been lifted, more people are coming to visit the temple,” he said.

Kampung Beliong, located about 36km from Kuching, is famous for the Beliong Chinese Temple which would normally see large amounts of visitors and worshippers especially during the weekend as well as during the first and middle of the Chinese calendar month.

The river is the lifeline of the island community as it connects people to towns and cities on the opposite side to access essential services as well as support the transportation of goods to sustain the livelihood of the people.

The State government plans to construct a ramp for the Beliong-Tambirat ferry service to connect the nine villages including Kampung Beliong, Kampung Beliong Cina, Kampung Beradek, Kampung Beradek Cina, Kampung Sungai Tanju, Kampung Tanjun Ulu, Kampung Lubok Kura, Kampung Semilang and Kampung Tiang Api.

The construction of the ferry ramps, according to Asajaya assemblyman Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, was supposed to begin in February this year and is expected to be completed within 12 months or early 2022.

However, it seems that construction has yet to begin as movement restrictions have been imposed throughout Sarawak for the past 20 months since Covid-19 emerged in March 2020.

Restrictions have only been lifted recently as the entire State has entered Phase 3 of National Recovery Plan (NRP).

All this while, villagers from Beliong, which is surrounded by Sungai Sarawak and Batang Samarahan, have been parking their cars at the Tambirat jetty and have to use boats to cross the 500 metres wide Batang Samarahan to get to their homes while motorcycles and bicycles are able to use the boats to cross the river. — DayakDaily

Inside Liu’s shop that continues to sell sundries and provisions to the people living on Beliong island.