KUCHING (Feb 2): A detailed study should be carried out on the location of Sarawak’s existing water pipelines and to map their alignment, said Datuk Julaihi Narawi.
The Minister for Utility and Telecommunication said at present there is no clear protocols for water pipeline alignment.
“The pipes can be located under the road or in the drain. As a result, I think it’s high time that we need a study that locates the alignment of our existing pipelines,” he said when officiating at Kuching Water Board’s (KWB) appreciation night on Wednesday.
He said ageing water pipelines pose the biggest challenge to addressing unscheduled water supply interruptions in the state.
He pointed out the issue is faced by all water supply agencies in the state, namely KWB, Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB), Sibu Water Board, and Laku Management Sdn Bhd.
“The location of the water pipeline is also another challenge for us. We have to trace the pipeline to detect the source of any water leakage. It’s one major problem faced by other water supply agencies, aside from KWB,” he said.
Julaihi also stressed KWB needs to look for other sources of water as the agency also supplies Serian and Samarahan through JBALB.
He said a proposal has been made for KWB to construct a new water treatment plant in Landeh, Padawan.
He added Sarawak’s current demand for treated water is about 2,000 million litres per day (MLD), but the ministry foresees the demand will increase to about 4,600 MLD by 2070.
Julaihi said a masterplan concerning the state’s water supply is almost ready and the state government is now looking into the implementation of the recommendations listed.
As for the long-planned merging of the four water supply agencies into one entity, he assured that the state government will safeguard the welfare of the 4,000-strong staff at these agencies with continuous engagement sessions.
A new steering committee has also been established to ensure the smooth transition of the four agencies into one entity within two years, he said.
During the event, service excellence awards were presented to 47 staff, while long service certificates went to 32 staff.
Among those present were Deputy Minister for Utility and Telecommunication II (Utility) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi and KWB general manager Rodziah Mohamad.