Sabahans make do as Ramadan arrives amid endless water cuts

Mariah Doksil and her family during last year’s Hari Raya.

KOTA KINABALU: Water disruptions saw many Muslims unable to take a bath and forced to break their fast with bottled water in areas like Tuaran, Menggatal and Penampang among other places.

A resident from Kg Rugading Tuaran, Mariah Doksil, 39, said that she had to get a carton of bottled water for cooking and bathing on Thursday (March 23).

“We could only simple menus such as rice, canned sardine with sambal and long beans with fried anchovies to break the first day of fast because there was no water supply,” she said.

For herself and her husband, they just wiped their bodies and chose to save the bottled water to bathe their three sons, aged nine, six and four.

“Luckily, water supply came back for a while at around midnight and was disconnected again before sahur so we managed to stock some water for today (Friday),” she said.

Mariah said although water disruptions were constant and have become part of their daily lives, she hoped authorities would be able to address the issue properly, especially during the fasting month.

“I also hope there will be a stable electricity supply as well because we have been experiencing power disruptions as well of late,” she said.

Another, Linah Osmon said water disruptions at her residential area of Kimoligan in Penampang had been ongoing for four days.

“Please, someone do something. Every time we call the Sabah Water Department, no one answers and when we go to their office to ask, they just tell us to wait because they were also waiting for the maintenance works,” she said.

“How can we continue living like this, especially now where we have to take care of our children’s needs and to prepare for breaking of fast and other things?” she asked.

Linah said the situation was beyond bearable as such disruptions have been going on for months, and like many others, she could not take it anymore.

State Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun called for agencies in charge of infrastructure and works to take a page from the private sector's book when it comes to carrying out their responsibilities.

He said matters that directly affect the safety and wellbeing of the public such as road maintenance, upgrading and water supply matters must be handled with urgency, not to be taken lightly or put through unnecessary delays.

He said this after a courtesy call from Sabah Public Works Minister, Datuk Shahelmey Yahya at his office in Menara Kinabalu, here, Friday.

On March 17, Shahelmey said that Sabah was currently having acute shortage of water supply especially at Northern Kota Kinabalu including Tuaran at 41.6% or 65 million liters per day (MLD).

“Overall in the west coast, Kota Kinabalu, Putatan, Penampang, Papar, and Tuaran are currently facing water shortage of 116 MLD or 27%,” he said.

He said there are no fast track measures to address these issues as construction of a new source and treatment plants will take at least three years to build or in the case of small plants, at least 12 months provided funds are available.

Shahelmey said mitigation measures were being done in anticipation of the completion of Telibong II phase II water treatment works with a capacity of 80 MLD. and they include rationing of water and distribution of water by water tankers.

The Sabah Water Department is also looking into possibilities of using interim measures to have small water treatment plants at projected areas like Putatan and seek independent water supply providers.

However, these small water treatment plants are not an ideal solution as they involve costly operations and maintenance in the long run, he said.

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