KUCHING (Jan 15): The Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication is mulling setting up State Water Authority (SWA) to amalgamate the water supply authorities into one entity, said its minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi.
The Water Ordinance 1994 stipulated that the State Water Authority (SWA) has general control and supervision of all water supply authorities and the management of all water resources and water catchment areas in the state, he added.
“Currently, SWA is in the person of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication. There is no dedicated organisational set-up for the SWA to execute the regulatory functions effectively and efficiently, although some of the functions had been delegated to the agencies.”
He said a study is being carried out on amalgamating all the water supply authorities under SWA.
“I hope that from this study, we can propose suitable models for the one entity and for the SWA as a corporate body so that a more proactive supervision and holistic management of water resources and water supply can be implemented for sustainable environment and provision of safe water supply,” he said at the Workshop on the Study on Formation of One Entity and Body Corporate for State Water Supply at a hotel here yesterday morning.
He said the provision of water supply in the state remains the responsibility of the state government under four water supply authorities – Sarawak Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB), Kuching Water Board (KWB), Sibu Water Board (SWB) and LAKU Management Sdn Bhd (LAKU).
In order to achieve Sarawak’s aspiration of having world class utilities, which are reliable, economical, safe and sustainable throughout the state he said it was essential for the state to have efficient and effective utility systems including water supply.
Meanwhile, Julaihi said the Ministry has embarked on the implementation of statewide Water Grid to ensure long-term provision of reliable, sustainable and resilient water supply to Sarawakians.
He said the treated water grid will traverse the state from south Sarawak to the north, linking the water treatment facilities to form a continuous water grid.
He added that the Ministry will continue to implement Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (Sawas) projects under the 12th Malaysia Plan to provide clean and safe water to remote areas inaccessible by roads or too far away to be connected to existing water supply systems.
“Over the next few years, we will also embark on a new chapter to modernise our current utility infrastructure in line with the Digital Transformation agenda -this will include enhancing the metering system in the utility sector amongst others.”
Also present at the workshop was Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication Permanent Secretary Dato Alice Jawan and JBALB director Chang Kuet Shian.