Wednesday, August 10

Lachau residents weary of water woes

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Henry (left) has been forced to close the public toilet because there is no water.

LACHAU: Residents here have been frustrated by dry taps for over a week, which has dampened Gawai Dayak celebrations.

Among those frustrated with the situation was teacher Levier Raju.

“I am a teacher teaching at Ulu Baram and I am now back for my Gawai holidays. The strange thing is, in a rural area as far as Long San, we do not experience water shortages but here in Lachau, which is so near town, we have dry taps,” she complained to The Borneo Post.

“The majority of the population in Lachau area are the Ibans. My worry now is how are we going to celebrate Gawai without water?”

Henry Sayang, who manages the public toilet, said water supply in the last few weeks has been very inconsistent.

“There is no water supply, I can’t operate the public toilet. And when I can’t operate the toilet, I have no income,” he said.

He explained that as the contractor looking after the public toilet, he has to pay the local council RM600 per month.

“There is a lorry driver who has been supplying three containers of water every day for the mosque next to the toilet. But I have no income. How can I pay for the water?”

He lamented that this has been a sad and bleak Gawai Dayak for his family.

“I can’t do anything at all when there is no water supply. I am practically paralysed. I do hope

the government can do something for us as soon as possible,” he said.

“Water supply has been a grave problem for our area. Lachau is receiving a lot of visitors on a daily basis and they need to use the public toilet when they stop by.

The government must do something to improve water supply here.”

The high number of travellers because of Gawai Dayak and school holidays has also brought no cheer to the business community.

“For the last three years, water supply has been inconsistent. Every now and then, we experience dry taps, sometimes for a few hours, other times for days,” lamented Penghulu Lee Thong Thong San, who runs a coffee shop.

“Lachau is booming. Tourists and travellers have been stopping by.

“Yet the government is not doing anything to help to make things better. Without water supply, we cannot provide good service to tourists and travellers.”

He pointed out that the closure of the public toilet has also caused problems for coffee shops.

“Because there is no water, the public toilet had to close. These travellers will try to use our facilities. But without water, how can we keep our toilet clean?

“We don’t want them to have a bad impression of Lachau, thinking that it is a dirty, smelly bazaar. This is really bad for tourism,” he complained.

Lee’s frustration was shared by fellow coffee shop owner Limah Ipe.

“Many who are not my

customers will come into my shop to use my toilet because the public toilet is closed. I cannot stop them.

“But I am very frustrated. Like others, I don’t have much water to spare and I have to use a lot of water to clean my toilet.

“It should be the government’s responsibility to provide toilet services, not me.  But not only that, the government fails to provide us with water; instead we have to take over the government’s responsibility of providing toilets to the travellers,” she complained.