Armizan: Sabah needs cloud seeding immediately

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Armizan

PAPAR (June 2): Cloud seeding needs to be done immediately in Sabah to induce rainfall for water levels at the state’s water treatment plants (LRA) to be increased.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said the Sabah government can seek cloud seeding services from its federal counterpart in an effort to resolve the state’s current water supply situation, which has turned critical.

He said if the state technical team has identified the need for cloud seeding, the state government can submit an application to the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) for that purpose.

“I am not going to downplay this. The water supply situation in Sabah is at a critical level and the southwest monsoon phenomenon this time will make it even more critical.

“If this (cloud seeding) is not done, many other water treatment plants will be affected,” he told Bernama after a visit to the Limbahau Emergency Water Supply Scheme (EWSS) water treatment plant here on Friday.

Armizan, who is Papar MP, said the EWSS LRA had also been affected after water levels at Sungai Papar dropped, causing the plant, which is capable of supplying 10 million litres of clean water a day, to cease operating since last week, affecting more than 19,000 residents from 33 villages in Papar.

He said as an immediate measure, water tanker lorries have been despatched to public facilities such as village mosques and community halls.

Armizan said among other suggestions to be implemented in the long term is the provision of static tanks with a capacity of between 10,000 litres and 20,000 litres of water to be provided in villages that face critical water supply problems.

In addition, he hoped that the process of upgrading the Kogopon Papar LRA, currently with a capacity of 40 million litres a day, to 80 million liters can be completed this year. The LRA was scheduled to be completed last year after being delayed for 10 years.

“We are trying to minimise certain things, so we need an additional RM67 million from the original cost of RM312 million…so the cost required now is almost RM400 million due to the changed scope and the increase in the price of materials….” he said.

Armizan said he was also satisfied with the presentation by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor on the short-term plan to deal with the state’s water crisis that was presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Putrajaya on Thursday.

He said the short-term plan between six to 12 months, involving a cost of RM320.25 million, proved that the state leadership is taking swift action on the matter.

“We have no choice. The construction of dams for example. If it is not decided now, then they cannot be completed within a year or two. It takes a minimum of 60 months at least,” he said.

In making decisions, it is necessary to take into account the guarantee of socioeconomic security, job opportunities and compensation for the villagers involved, he said.

Hajiji on Thursday said that the Sabah government was confident that financial assistance from the Federal Government will help speed up its short-term plan in dealing with the state’s water crisis.

The chief minister said the financial assistance of RM320.25 million included the implementation of six programmes consisting of 20 projects throughout the state including nine for the districts of Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Putatan, Papar, Beaufort, Keningau, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Sandakan.