KOTA KINABALU: To outsiders, Sepanggar is an idyllic gateway to the pristine Karambunai beach. But to residents, life is less than ideal thanks to the regular unscheduled water cuts, which can go on for days.
The latest disruption to their daily lives took place on Thursday when the water supply was abruptly cut for two hours starting from 5pm.
“This is no longer a normal water supply issue but a water crisis,” said Sepanggar MP Mustapha Sakmud.
He said the Sabah Water Department must take drastic measures to resolve the situation, which is distressing residents in the Sepanggar area.
“There are about 300,000 residents in the constituency, which is also home to a naval base,” he said.
Sepanggar is home to the Region 2 Naval Base as well as the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park.
He said the government must focus on expediting the completion of the Telibong 2 water treatment plant project, located in nearby Tuaran district.
The Federal Government had stated its willingness to help the state government on this matter, he said.
“I urge the Sabah Water Department to take drastic action.
“The department needs to speed up the completion of the Telibong 2 water treatment plant project,” Mustapha said after inspecting the water situation in his constituency on Friday.
The water supply problem has worsened over the past 24 months, with not only Sepanggar affected but also areas around the state capital as well as neighbouring districts such as Penampang, Tuaran and Papar.
Faced with either dry taps, low water pressure or perennial unscheduled supply cuts, residents are voicing their frustrations on social media.
The situation, however, has persisted.
On March 17, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya said state authorities had taken immediate, short-term measures to address the water shortage in various parts of Sabah.
This included the distribution of water to affected areas by modifying piping systems, he said.
In other developments, Mustapha said he was waiting to be called for a meeting by Kota Kinabalu City Hall to find a solution to the squatter issue in Sepanggar area which is linked to water theft.
A new mechanism is needed to resolve the squatter problem in the constituency by taking into account the humanitarian aspects but without neglecting the interests of the people in general, he said.