Abg Jo: Cascading dams could be new way to address human-crocodile conflict


Photo for illustration purposes only. — Photo by Flo K/Pixabay

MALUDAM (Oct 2): Exploring opportunities in the production of water through cascading dams will not only add value to the renewable energy sector but it also helps to address human-crocodile conflict, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

According to him, the new technology that is used in the cascading dam system that manages the level of water flows could reduce the presence of crocodiles.

He explained this is because the movement of water through the cascading dam would affect the salinity of the water in the river.

“The sharp drop of water transportation activities in the river over the past years has led to an increase of crocodile presence.

“Perhaps, if we have this dam the water that flows onto the river could minimise their presence because it has more oxygen in the water.”

Abang Johari said this when speaking at the launching ceremony of the new school and hostel building for SK Meludam, Betong today.

Commenting further, Abang Johari said the rapid infrastructure development in the state, especially road construction, has posed disturbances not only to crocodiles but also to humans.

He said the shift in mode of transportation from river to road has led to the influx of crocodiles in the river.

“For example, when we have the road completed from Sibu to Kapit, there is no one using express (boats) anymore. When no one uses the river, no boats pass, of course there are crocodiles.

“And I had a conversation with (Works Minister) Dato Sri Alex (Alexander Nanta Linggi). According to him, there are crocodiles now in Baleh,” he said.

However, Abang Johari noted, there is a need to find out how to better manage human-crocodile conflict in order to optimise the state’s rivers.

He said while Sarawak strives for development, it also wants to conserve the environment.

Thus, he believes the only way to capitalise on water resources is through coexistence of humans and crocodiles.

“So, there are three positive advantages that can benefit us if we are able to do this (cascading dam).

“We need to think on how we can better facilitate human-crocodile conflict. If we have a cascading dam, with new technology, it would not only generate power but also give us ideas on how to capitalise on our water resources.

“We have a lot of rivers, and we should utilise and capitalise on this. This is our asset,’ he added.