State Govt urged to build coastal reservoirs


Awang Husaini

KOTA KINABALU (Sept 18): Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Awang Husaini Sahari agrees with former State Water Department director Datuk Dr Amarjit Singh that coastal reservoirs are the best method to collect rainwater to meet the demands for domestic, agrocultural and industrial purposes.

Awang Husaini said according to statistics, around 54 percent of the world’s population live within 200 kilometres of a coast, and based on various other factors, he suggested the State Government recognise the forward innovation engineering called coastal reservoirs.

“Coastal reservoirs are a tried-and-true and the best method for collecting rainfall compared to traditional dams which depend on precipitation.

“Furthermore, the implementation of a coastal reservoir can be coupled as flood-control infrastructure and floating solar farms, and for tourism activities.

“I think coastal reservoir technology could be the best solution for sustainable water supply not only in the West Coast but in the whole of Sabah.

“This is in line with the concept of Malaysia Madani where new ideas that are beneficial to the community and the nation in particular must be considered as well as the basis of willingness to accept change by taking into account the suggestions of all levels of society,” he said in a statement on Monday.

For the past three weeks, he has noticed and observed opinions and statements given by water experts, geologists, and academicians in relation to coastal reservoirs.

Awang Husaini cited non-governmental organisation members Diana Sipail and Jackly Likinsim’s recent statements on the recent developments of Ulu Padas dam project, and also the resurfacing of the Kaiduan or Papar dam which was recently announced by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kogopon 2 water treatment plant.

The former Putatan Member of Parliament also mentioned Kepayan assemblywoman Jannie Lasimnang who had reiterated her stance on the rights of affected communities to reject projects that adversely affect indigenous groups.

He added that International Water Association (IWA) members Amarjit and Lim Sin Poh had lamented that by constructing an inland dam, it will block the river’s flow which would lead to soil erosion, a biologically dead river, upsetting the region’s natural equilibrium and destroying agriculture and cultural legacies.

Awang Husaini said both Amarjit and Lim had cautioned that the public firmly opposes the construction of new dams as they bring about many negative economic, social and environmental impacts, including the ability of inland dams to decimate riverine ecosystems.

When giving a talk titled ‘The Innovation of Coastal Reservoirs in Sabah’ at the Sabah Society Secretariat last Friday, Amarjit pointed out that Sabah has high potential to build coastal reservoirs as an alternative to traditional dams,

He said this considering Malaysia is a tropical Southeast Asian country with a steady annual rainfall and river flow pattern while also possessing an enormous river network which can provide enough supply to build coastal reservoirs, allowing Sabah to make full use of the technology if they are to be built here.