SAPP wants one-year moratorium before deciding on dam project in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has asked the state government for a one-year moratorium before deciding to construct a dam, previously known as Papar Dam or Kaiduan.

SAPP deputy president Edward Dagul (pic) said the one year could be used to consider other alternatives to resolve water woes of the state capital and surrounding areas – not just focus on the construction of the dam, which was rejected by villagers and environmentalists.

He said this in response to a recent statement by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin that the government plans to continue the project, but would move it to the Penampang district instead of Papar as initially planned.

Penampang folk had objected to the project previously, saying it would affect the environment and inundate their homes.

In a statement, Edward said all considerations, including viable alternatives, must be factored in before the state government makes a final decision.

"These include addressing other contributory factors to the water shortage such as the maintenance and repair of water pipes and pumps, which would reduce the NRW (non-revenue water) rate, previously reported to be higher than 50%.

"It does not make economic sense to procure and treat voluminous amounts of water if more than half of the water produced ends up back wasted through leaks and damaged pipelines," said Edward.

He said Senator Datuk John Ambrose's (from Bersatu) previous suggestion of constructing water catchments and off-river reservoirs as viable options warranted consideration.

"Not only are these alternatives quicker to implement, they are also much cheaper and will minimise the social upheaval in the community otherwise affected by the proposed construction of the dam.

"We therefore urge for a one-year moratorium which should be ample time for the government, local communities, various NGOs and other affected stakeholders to study, discuss and decide the best way to tackle the water woes for a win-win resolution," said Edward.

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