KOTA KINABALU: The water level in Sabah’s Babagon dam is still at the 80% mark despite the ongoing dry spell.
The dam, which has a capacity of 21,000 million litres, will be able to continue supplying water, though contingency plans have been put in place in the event of a prolonged dry spell, state officials said.
They added that in the over 20 years since the Babagon dam was built in 1997, there have been similar dry spells, but the dam was still able to meet the water needs of some three million people in Kota Kinabalu and its greater areas.
“At the moment, we have enough water in the dam to meet our daily production needs,” said an official who declined to be named.
The Babagon dam in Penampang and the Telibong water treatment plant in Tuaran are the main water sources for the state capital and its neighbouring districts.
The water production is carried out by a private company, Jetama Sdn Bhd, while the distribution of water and billing is handled by the Sabah Water Department.
Consumers in Kota Kinabalu and the greater areas in the west coast of the state have been hit by dry taps or low water pressure over the last six months, with officials blaming this on water theft and pumps needing immediate repairs.
The water issues faced by consumers have nothing to do with the dry spell, state officials said.
They added that the Water Department is taking steps to increase production including through the Urgent Water Supply Scheme in the Telibong water treatment plant that has been delayed due to land issues involving the laying of pipes.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya, who is state Works Minister, said non-revenue water made up nearly 60% of water lost to theft and burst pipes, among others.
“Our water is still in surplus and reserves are holding during this dry season,” he said.
For now, he said there is no need for any water rationing.
In the event of a long drawn dry spell due to the El Nino phenomenon, Shahelmey said that a contingency plan would be put in place to ensure all areas would receive water supply.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had previously said that he will be meeting Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor to look into the state’s water problems.