Wednesday, August 10

322 ‘Projek Rakyat’ water supply projects expected to be completed latest 2021


File photo shows low water levels at the Engkilili treatment plant in September this year. 

KUCHING: The Utilities Ministry is implementing 322 water supply projects under ‘Projek Rakyat’, aimed at relieving water-stressed areas and those without access to potable water.

Its minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said there are 266 stressed area projects that are targeted to be completed by 2020 while a few more complex ones may spill over to 2021.

He revealed that 217 of these projects, worth about RM2 billion have been awarded, with 87 smaller scale projects completed and the remaining under various stages of implementation.

“I am happy to note that the completion of these 87 projects have relieved water stress in the areas concerned. Another nine projects totalling RM417 million are at tender evaluation stage while 40 more projects are under design.

“Completing these projects, comprising water treatment plants, pipelines, reservoirs, and booster stations, amongst others, will minimise immediate water supply issues by increasing volume and improving pressure in the water-stressed areas,” he said in his ministerial winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

Apart from that, he also pointed out that the Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) has successfully carried out several intervention works in areas with a long history of water supply issues.

These works, he said, have resolved water issues at several villages in Siburan, Kabong, Meradong, Balingian and Sg Asap among others.

Meanwhile, Dr Rundi also told the august House that an estimated RM135 million has been allocated for the next phase of the Sarawak Alternative Rural Water Supply (Sawas) programme under ‘Projek Rakyat.’

He explained that the implementation of the programme, which is to provide safe and reliable water for remote and isolated rural communities that cannot be connected to existing water supply systems, will contribute towards achieving the state’s target of full potable water supply coverage by 2025.

“Where feasible, Sawas will be synchronised with the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) as electrical power is required for the operation of most of the standalone water supply system.

“This is part of my ministry’s integrated plan for rural communities. No woman, child, or man should ever have to study by candlelight, a situation many of us remember when we were growing up in kampungs and longhouses,” Dr Rundi said.