Sunday, October 2

Beverly Hills residents risk water cut over huge arrears


KOTA KINABALU: Residents of Beverly Hills Apartment Phase 2 are risking water supply disconnection from November 15 if outstanding bills amounting to almost half a million ringgit are not settled by then.

Phase 2 Committee Council chairperson Susan Taylor reiterated an appeal for more time of at least six months to settle arrears of RM492,073.70.

“Residents from 996 units had received notice of the arrears and were made to contribute RM494.05 per household to go towards settling the bill.

“We have started to receive signatures from residents who had paid the RM494.05, but they asked for black and white assurance from the Sabah Water Department (JANS) that their water supply would not be disconnected.

“We as the council are not capable of handling this water connection problem so we want JANS to handle those who have not paid, if possible.

“If JANS refuses and still cuts water supply, there’s nothing we can do. But we are appealing for at least six months so we can come up with a plan while paying off our water dues,” she said.

In the meantime, the council resorted to a stringent water rationing schedule which subjected residents to water cuts daily from 9am to 12pm, 1pm to 5pm and 12am to 4am.

This is to prevent further water loss, said Susan, as they were unsure if there were any more pipe bursts, which was what drove the bill up over a period of approximately six months.

“In total, about 17 pipe bursts have been repaired since the beginning of this year. Since then, we have also been reporting to JANS that we cannot cope with our current bill of about RM50,000 a month, due to water loss from the pipe bursts.

“We have asked to pay off our bills via installment, which JANS had initially agreed to, but now they are asking for payment in one lump sum by November 15,” said Susan.

The underground pipes were old and needed to be changed, she said, but changing the pipes would incur more costs. The most feasible solution would be to relocate the current bulb metre, located three roads away from Beverly Hills Phase 2.

“Our main meter is not inside the apartment compound. I’ve been pursuing this matter for years because Phase 2 is the only one where the meter is three roads out, where heavy lorries and trucks pass frequently.

“It’s unfair for residents because anything leaking outside the compound of Phase 2 is also borne by us, due to the meter location.

“Pipe bursts and leaks are impossible for us to detect. The only indicator we have is if the water level in our ground tank drops. Until that happens, we have no way of detecting leaks because the pipes are six feet deep,” she said.

According to Susan, a proposal to relocate the meter is in the works, although it has not been set in black and white.

During her last meeting with JANS director Amarjit Singh, Susan said the department was willing to relocate the bulb meter, provided that residents come up with the estimated cost of about RM300,000 for the move.

She said she was in the midst of seeking allocations from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, to lighten residents’ load.

Susan stressed that cutting water supply would be chaotic and potentially life-threatening, as fire hydrants for Phase 2 rely directly on the reservoir and elevated tank.

“Until it happens, lives are involved. We appeal for the safety and security here first,” she said.