Sarawak govt aims statewide water and electricity supply by 2025

Awang Tengah (top left) chairing State Utilities Taskforce virtual meeting on Sunday (June 13, 2021).

KUCHING, June 14: The Sarawak government aims to have a statewide coverage of water and electricity supply by 2025, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

Awang Tengah in a statement today said for both water and electricity, short to long term initiatives under the Sarawak Water Supply Master Plan, State Water Grid Program and Sarawak Rural Electrification Masterplan, have been implemented since 2018.

“The Government is committed towards achieving full coverage for these utilities by 2025 despite facing many challenges to reach the remote rural areas with limited or no proper accessibility.

“This is further compounded with the current Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the implementation of many projects and delaying their completion” he said after chairing the State Utilities Task Force project monitoring meeting held virtually, yesterday (June 14).

Awang Tengah noted in efforts to resolve the immediate water problem issues faced, the Sarawak Water Grid Supply System- Stressed Areas funded under “Projek Rakyat” will improve the current water supply situations in Sarawak and aimed to bring an end to water woes in Sarawak.

He said under the “Projek Rakyat” for the water program, a total of RM4 billion was allocated for 321 water supply projects aimed towards resolving the water supply reliability issues in water stressed areas and providing potable water supply to those without access to this basic amenity.

According to him, as of now 165 projects have been completed, while the remaining 156 projects are expected to fully complete by 2023, and a total of RM2.37 billion has been allocated under the Sarawak Government’s Projek Rakyat Accelerated Rural Electrification Master Plan.

“The completion of all these projects will minimise immediate water supply issues in the water stressed areas by increasing the volume of treated water delivered to the consumers and improving the water supply pressure,” he added.

Awang Tengah asserted the RM2.37 billion Rural Electrification includes Rural Power Supply Scheme (RPSS) that extends and enhances the main grid infrastructure to rural areas with new substations built as power injection points and allows for subsequent Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) Last Mile connections to localised areas for eventual supply into domestic houses.

“Since 2019, five substations have been completed and commissioned at Batang Ai, Pakan, Julau, Ng. Ngungun and Sebauh while five more are currently under construction at Tatau, Kanowit, Dalat, Sangan and Belaga, while another two  substations will begin construction at Long Lama and Bakelalan after land acquisitions are completed,” he said.

He also pointed out that for villages or longhouses too distant to be connected to these utility grid-systems or without the proper road access for constructing water and electricity connections, stand-alone Sarawak Alternative Water Supply System (SAWAS) and Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) are implemented.

He explained these stand-alone off-grid systems enable the “rakyat” in the remote areas to enjoy these amenities without having to wait for the grid-system, which will take a longer time as it depends on the accessibility to these areas.

“On rural coverage for these basic amenities, the overall water supply coverage in Sarawak is estimated at 83.4 per cent, with rural water supply coverage at 66.5 per cent and Sarawak’s overall coverage for electricity is at 98 per cent, with rural electricity supply coverage at 95 per cent,” said Awang Tengah. — DayakDaily