Sarawak using alternative means to supply treated water to rural areas

A villager of Kampung Kalampun in Lawas shows the difference between a treated water sample (on his left) and an untreated one.

KUCHING, June 8: Sarawak is using the Sarawak Alternative Water Supply System (SAWAS) to ensure 100 per cent of the rural populace will have access to treated water by 2025.

Minister of Public Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said his office was working closely with the Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) to realise this goal.

The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dato Alice Jawan and JBALB director Chang Kuet Shian are heading this initiative.

“SAWAS is an initiative of the Sarawak government, through the Ministry of Public Utilities, to provide water supplies to isolated settlements that have yet to have treated water,” said Dr Rundi in a statement today.

The SAWAS project at Rumah Untat, Song.

He explained that this alternative approach was adopted because the conventional way of supplying water through the water mains was not only time consuming but much more costly in the rural areas.

“SAWAS, besides being able to provide clean and treated water, is easily installed and can be operated by the local communities. Besides that, the cost of operations is low and the maintenance of the system will be monitored by JBALB,” he said.

Dr Rundi added that SAWAS Phase One, comprising five packages, was launched on Oct 12 last year.

“Up till May 30, four sub-packages have been completed and operational. They are located at Rumah Unchau in Sebauh, Rumah Untat (Song), Kampung Kalampun (Lawas) and Rumah Ninting (Lubok Antu).

Residents of Rumah Unchau in Sebauh, Bintulu, giving their thumbs-up for the water supply from the Sarawak government.

In Rumah Unchau, Dr Rundi said the project was benefitting about 90 people living in an 18-door longhouse. The project, which uses an ultra filtration system, cost RM5 million. It can process 50,000 litres of water per day.

The RM1.6 million SAWAS project in Rumah Untat uses a hollow fibre membrane safe water genie and gravity feed system. The system is able to process 80,000 litres of water and has a storage capacity of 10,800 litres per day.

As for the SAWAS project in Kampung Kalampun, which cost RM3.1 million, it is now supplying treated water to 80 villagers.

The one at Rumah Ninting became operational in March. — DayakDaily