Sandakan salty water issue expected to end after spare parts for damaged river gate arrive next month

Shahelmey (second right) and Poon (second left) listening to a briefing on the water issue in Sandakan.

KOTA KINABALU: Efforts to resolve the salty water issue that has been a bane for consumers in the east coast Sandakan district for the past few months will be undertaken after spare parts for the damaged river gate arrive next month.

State Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya said these parts were required in order to fix the river gate at the Segaliud river which was said to have been damaged by vandals.

Shahelmey, who is also Sabah Works Minister, said orders had been sent for the parts and they were expected to come in early March.

He said the river gate was utilised by groups of fishermen to gain access to open sea to fish, adding this caused the entry of sea water into the water supply intake for the Segaliud water treatment plant.

“Accordingly, I discussed with the Sabah Water Department on how to deal with this problem in the short as well as the long term,” he said after a visit to the treatment plant on Wednesday (Feb 8).

“When this river gate is repaired soon, it will again be able to control and regulate the water flow into the water supply intake,” he added.

The State Water Department has since taken steps to lock the gate manually following public complaints over a salty taste in their water supply.

Sandakan MP Vivian Wong had earlier this month urged the state water authorities to send in backup manpower to help the district Water Department to overcome the salty water issue.

Earlier in January, Wong had also lambasted the vandals responsible for damaging the river gate which resulted in sea water seeping through the Segaliud holding dam and causing an unusually high salinity level in the water supply.

She said that, according to the state Water Department, a police report had been lodged when it discovered the damage the previous month.

The damage, she added, resulted in the department being unable to flush out the sea water.

Meanwhile, Tanjong Papat assemblyman Datuk Frankie Poon urged the state Water Department to beef up its security in order to avoid a similar issue in the future.

Poon, who joined Shahelmey in the tour of the treatment plant, also said that the department should already have spare parts on standby in the event there was a need to replace old or broken ones.

“I hope the temporary measures discussed would be the way forward for a temporary solution pending the arrival of the parts from India in March,” he said.

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