Sarawak Energy on standby to clear floating timber debris obstructing Baleh River

Sarawak Energy Berhad

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KUCHING, Aug 22: Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) is on standby to clear floating timber debris which may obstruct the water flow into the portal of the Baleh hydroelectric power (HEP) dam following a sudden inflow of floating timber debris from upstream of Baleh river.

The utility company in a statement today said it is closely monitoring the situation at the Baleh HEP dam diversion tunnel inlet portal.

It added work to clear floating debris will only be carried out when high water levels recede and it is deemed safe to proceed.

“Sarawak Energy is on high alert to assess and manage the potential impact of floating timber debris washed down from upstream by strong river currents and accumulating at the diversion tunnel inlet portal of Baleh HEP.

“The Baleh HEP river site experienced a sudden inflow of floating timber debris from upstream yesterday (Aug 21) at around 12 noon following heavy rainfall.

“This has impeded safe navigation of the river.

“The combination of dry weather from April to early August, logging activities upstream of Baleh River and the intense rainfall recently appear to have contributed to the situation,” it said.

Sarawak Energy said if the situation persists, the floating timber debris will pose a significant risk to the construction of the Baleh HEP and the safety of downstream communities if the situation continues.

It pointed out that the Baleh HEP is vital to meet Sarawak’s energy demand and when fully commissioned in 2026, the facility will join Sarawak’s stable of hydropower plants to support Sarawak’s aspiration to become a regional powerhouse of renewable and affordable energy. — DayakDaily