State Water Grid needs RM7-8 bln to meet 2025 deadline

Dr Rundi (third right) presenting a souvenir to Abang Johari (in white suit) witnessed by other distinguished guests.

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KUCHING, Oct 16: The Ministry of Utilities is still short of RM7 to RM8 billion to implement the Sarawak Water Grid system which will address water supply problems in the state by 2025.

Its Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom revealed that at the time, the state government has provided RM2.8 billion for the next two years to resolve water supply issues especially in rural areas facing water stress.

“The amount was not sufficient for us to address water supply problems and we still need RM7 to RM8 billion to implement the our water grid system,” he told reporters at the Kuching Water Board (KWB) 60th anniversary celebration dinner at a hotel here last night (Oct 15).

The celebration was officiated at by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“Physical works for the water grid is expected to start next year and it will take about two to five years to be completed before we can implement and get the system running by 2025,” he said.

He explained that water sources from dams like Bengoh Hydroelectric Dam and others which have yet to be identified will be used for the water grid.

Dr Rundi pointed out that huge costs are involved in upgrading and improving the state’s water supply system, especially in rural areas which require attention.

“But we are confident that once the physical works are done by 2025, the water grid system can be implemented,” he added.

Earlier in his speech, he emphasised that the challenges in modernising the water supply facilities and services in Sarawak cannot be taken lightly in order to meet the growing demands of consumers today.

“We have efficient treatment plants but we have problems with leakages, illegal tapping and water wastage which will affect our consumers. We need to educate the public on the importance of water conservation,” he said.

He thus urged all the water supply authorities including Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) to adopt technology to better manage the water supply system and provide better services to the people.

With the record sum of RM2.8 billion allocated, he diclosed that so far, about 266 projects have been rolled out and 225 have been tendered.

“So you see the tremendous amount of work to be done; we hope to deliver what is expected out of us. All, especially JBALB, must work harder and smart with right structure and system so that we are able to meet the expectations of the people,” he urged.

“Moroever, with advanced communication technology, we must be on our toes and keep abreast with technology to better serve the people of Sarawak,” he added. — DayakDaily