Coastal reservoirs more practical than traditional water dams for Sabah, say engineers

Datuk Dr Amarjit Singh (left) and Lim Sin Poh.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah should consider coastal reservoirs instead of the traditional dams to meet future water needs, say engineers.

International Water Association (IWA) members Datuk Dr Amarjit Singh and Lim Sin Poh said that coastal dams would be a two-pronged approach towards resolving not only the water needs but also mitigating the state's perennial flood problems.

By constructing coastal reservoirs, they said it potentially resolves the water shortage problem during droughts by storing the excess water from wet seasons.

At the same time, the engineer said the reservoir can be designed to integrate flood mitigation and include floating solar energy components as a sustainable estuary and coastal solution.

They said that it was necessary to be pragmatic in mitigating water storage issues against the traditional dam concept in view of environmental and safety among other issues.

The engineers said that water resources development works from traditional upstream dams to downstream reservoirs was now gaining attention not only in Malaysia in recent years but more countries are studying it.

"Sabah is a water-rich state and by improving water resources management plus adopting the new and innovative approach of coastal reservoirs can potentially increase the utilisation of raw water resources for its economic development," Amarjit, a former Sabah Water Department director and Lim said in a statement Friday (Aug 11).

The statement comes amid Sabah government's move to build two controversial dams - Papar and Ulu Padas - pending a decision after feasibility studies were completed by October this year.

The Papar dam faces strong objection by NGOs.

Globally, downstream reservoirs have gained more attention and its feasibility has been studied in China, India, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, United Kingdom and United States of America, they noted.

Sabah is in an earthquake risk area, upstream dams remain a potential risk hazard, they said, explaining that downstream reservoir's advantages to adopting coastal reservoirs were overall cost-effective, environmentally friendly, green and sustainable solutions for raw water resources development in Sabah.

"Dam construction is counterproductive to many government efforts and commitments in reducing the carbon footprint as large land areas are submerged," they said.

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Water , Engineers , Sabah , Coastal Reservoirs , Dams


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