Sarawak to emulate how Canada manages its dams, water resources

Abang Johari (fourth from right) and his delegates attending a briefing at the Adam Beck hydropower plant on Wednesday (Oct 3).

KUCHING, Oct 7: Sarawak wants to emulate Canada in the management and governance of its hydro dams and water usage because of the country’s strong and long experience in these areas.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, after a recent visit to Adam Beck hydropower plant as part of his four-day working visit to Ontario, Canada, said in a statement that Canada, particularly Ontario, had a long history and reputation of hydropower generation, where its first hydro plant was built a century ago.

Hydropower plants produced more than 70,000MW of power in Canada, which is only second to China, he pointed out.

Abang Johari said the visit had demonstrated to his delegation how water was treated as a precious commodity to generate economic returns for the country, particularly in Ontario.

He said he was particularly impressed with how various legislation had been introduced in Ontario to regulate the many uses of water, compared to Sarawak, which had practically none.

Abang Johari said Ontario’s level of autonomy from the Canadian government would become a useful reference for Sarawak to determine its stance on issues involving state and federal relationship.

The Ontario water legislation had also provided a clear picture of what came under federal and provincial jurisdictions in Canada in the governance of the extensive system of water bodies in the country, including the Great Lakes.

Ontario even had a special institution to conduct research on water, citing the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo, near Toronto. The Water Institute was among the places of interest included in the chief minister’s itinerary.

Abang Johari capped his visit by visiting the Sir Adam Beck Hydro Power Station near the world famous Niagara Falls on Oct 3. While at the station, he and members of his delegation were briefed on the station’s water management plan, management of dams and public safety risks and the relationship between dams and agriculture.

He said Sarawak had to learn from Ontario on various aspects of water management, such as water policy, water legislation, water research, development of water bodies and environmental enforcement and compliance.

The things learned during the trip would be useful inputs in Sarawak’s desire to formulate a water policy and water legislation in order to turn water into a precious economic asset, he pointed out.

The delegation also toured Toronto Island Park, where they were briefed by the park’s supervisor on how the park had been developed and became an important income generator for Toronto City Council.

Members of the delegation were Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani.

Other members included Assistant Minister of Water Supply Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh, Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi and key officials of various relevant state agencies. — DayakDaily