Bengoh dam structurally stable, says minister

  • Nation
  • Monday, 13 Nov 2017

KUCHING: The Sarawak state government has given its assurance that the Bengoh dam near here is "technically and structurally sound and stable", after it was claimed that there were cracks and leakages in its wall.

State Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi said the recent lowering of the dam reservoir's water level was not caused by any fault or dam leakage, but was planned and done according to operation procedures to release water through the draw-off culvert.

"In the construction of concrete dams, contraction and thermal movement joints are part of the structure. Some water flow through these joints is expected," he told reporters at the State Legislative Assembly here on Monday.

Dr Rundi was responding to allegations in local media that the dam was leaking from the lower part of its downstream face wall.

Two PKR members who visited the dam last Saturday (Nov 11) claimed that its water level had receded by 1.5m and that water could be seen leaking from its wall.

But Dr Rundi said what they saw on site was a designed contraction joint and not a crack as alleged.

"Some seepage through the joint is expected and the wet patch seen on this area is due to this seepage. Nonetheless the contractor has been advised that any seepage must be rectified.

"They can do patching but it will not affect the structure," he said, adding that the seepage started about two months ago.

He also said the design and construction of the dam involved input from British dam specialists and a specialist dam contractor from China in collaboration with a local contractor.

The design and construction were further reviewed by an Australian dam specialist, he said.

"The Bengoh dam has been operational and fully performing its functions as designed since the end of 2015.

"I've been briefed by international and local consultants on the integrity of the dam and I would like the public to know that it's not something to be alarmed about in terms of safety," he added.
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