Thursday, October 24

Proposed Papar Dam not best solution, claims geologist

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Diana (front, 3rd left) and Dr Felix (front, 3rd right) with some of the villagers from the affected villages and a church leader who is also present at the meeting.

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) geologist Professor Dr Felix Tongkul already briefed the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal that the proposed Papar Dam is not the best solution for the future supply of water.

Spokesperson for Taskforce against Kaiduan and Papar Dam (Takad), Diana Sipail told The Borneo Post that she met Dr Felix yesterday to talk about alternatives to the proposed mega dam.

“According to the presentation made by Dr Felix, despite receiving a large amount of rain, water storage is becoming more acute in Malaysia. Some dams are not even getting enough recharge.

“If we want enough water and avoid flood, water catchments are the most important thing that we should look into, not dams.

“Large dams disrupt the flow of the river causing imbalance to the natural hydrological and ecological systems. This disruption has a long-term effect on both upstream and downstream,” she said.

According to the slides shared by Diana to the writer, Dr Felix had pointed out that dam’s impact on upstream, includes artificial lake floods, raises groundwater levels, collects excess sediments and creates additional load that may trigger micro earthquakes.

Meanwhile, impact on downstream is reduced sediment supply to the sea causing coastal erosion, and reduced underground and stream flow that will cause sea water intrusion.

In the 76 presentation slides that were also presented by Felix to the chief minister yesterday morning, apart from the negative environmental impact, it would cause disruptions to people’s lives as well and destroys their histories.

“I am hoping the chief minister will look into the alternatives that are already presented by our own geologist who had predicted the earthquake.

“As for us, we remain steadfast against the construction of the dam, because as I have always said to the media, the indigenous people cannot be separated from their land,” she said.