Sandakan's salty water woes to end in a month, says Deputy Chief Minister

Datuk Shahelmey Yahya

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Water Department hopes to resolve the issue of salty water in Sandakan in a month, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya.

He said a special team has been tasked to resolve the problem that was triggered after sea water infiltrated the Segaliud river water intake point in late November 2022.

"We have tasked a team to handle the situation, to resolve the problem of the salty taste of the water

Barring any unexpected complications, the matter should be resolved within three to four weeks," said Shahelmey when contacted on Tuesday (March 7).

The state Works Minister said that the main problem is that repairing damage sustained to parts of a gate used by fishermen to go out to sea is part of the solution to the overall problem in the area.

This comes after residents in Sandakan have been up in arms with the state's Water Department for failing to resolve the issue after almost four months.

Sandakan MP Vivian Wong had called for the resignation of the state Water Department director while a similar call is being made by Elopura assemblyman Calvin Chong.

It had been reported earlier that the gate at the Segaliud River had been damaged, causing seawater to infiltrate the holding dam in the area.

This has resulted in the unusually high salinity level in the local water supply.

The Sandakan Water Department had lodged a police report in December last year after they discovered that the river gate was damaged and cables stolen at the Segaliud River.

They are waiting for the replacement parts which had been ordered from overseas.

Water engineers had reported that they could not flush out the sea water in the system, especially during high tides. However, they said that the water was still safe for consumption.

Sandakan has a population of about 500,000 people.

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