SIBU: The Education Department is aware of the water supply problem at SMK Ulu Balingian, near here, said Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.
She said such cases would usually involve immediate measures once notification is received.
“It’s a priority that needs immediate remedy to be followed by a long-term solution. Usually, schools with consent from the Education Department will collaborate with the Public Works Department (JKR) to supply water to them.
“This is done whether using land or river transport to send water supply,” she said when commenting on SMK Ulu Balingian’s water woes, which were highlighted by Sarawak Consumers Protection Association president Dato Sri Law Ying Mee on Tuesday.
Law claimed the school has faced water woes for three years.
“Water supply disruption occurs once a week or once fortnightly,” he said, adding the problem has worsened since November last year.
“The problem was triggered by the complete breakdown of the water pump. Repair works couldn’t continue due to the lack of funds.”
Law said the problem affected the school’s 400 pupils and staff.
He also claimed the school’s management board had sent a letter to the Education Department and even bought clean water from Selangau at a cost of about RM500 per lorry.
“At the most, the water could only last for about two days,” he said.
The school is now relying on rainwater for cleaning and cooking.
“Some teachers and pupils have to buy their own mineral water,” he added.
The 20-year-old SMK Ulu Balingian is located along the Pan-Borneo Highway.