KOTA KINABALU: Six water treatment plants in Sabah's east coast of Tawau and Semporna have reached critical levels while rainfall over the week has brought relief in other areas of the state hit by the dry spell.
Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony said they
were ready to mobilise tankers to send water to affected consumers in the two districts and may look at the option of cloud seeding if the situation worsens.
Speaking to reporters Sunday (March 24) to mark the World Water Day run in Penampang, Anthony said that since the dry spell began in February, 14 of their water treatment plants statewide had been at critical levels.
"However, this changed with rainfall over the last few days in most areas in the water catchments of Keningau, Papar and Penampang.
"The situation is no longer critical in the west coast and interior areas of the state.
"It is only critical in Tawau and Semporna with water running out in the six treatment plants," he said.
"The situation there (Semporna and Tawau) should improve if it begins
to rain in the area," he said, adding that the pump in the treatment plant in Tawau is unable to suck in water.
"We are monitoring the situation closely," he said.
Anthony said that though the annual rainfall in the state is high, the dry spell could trigger a drought and the state could face water shortage during certain periods.
He said the state government was considering building water storage facilities in every district to create reserves enough for at least three to four months.
On the controversial RM2bil Papar Dam project, Anthony said that the state government is hoping to get it started by next year.
He said it is currently carrying out the design and survey of the dam at the identified river source.
They were also waiting for reports from the Department of Environment and other relevant agencies.
"Everything should be in place in six months, hopefully we can start it," he said.
Anthony said that the Papar Dam was important to meet the needs of the growing development and population in Papar and Kota Kinabalu.
He said that the current water supply from the Babagon Dam and Tuaran treatment water plant would not be able to cope with the needs of the greater Kota Kinabalu area.
He said the Ulu Padas Dam project, which is expected to begin soon, will provide sufficient water supply for Sipitang and Beaufort.