Sabah Red Crescent sets up filtration system to produce potable water from Sungai Papar

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah chapter of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) has taken proactive steps by installing a temporary water filter system in Sungai Papar, near Kampung Mandalipau, to filter and treat river water into clean water for use by residents during the drought.

Sabah MRCS disaster management and ambulance services committee chairman Hairuddin Siramin said the initiative to install the temporary water filter system known as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the river had been carried out since March 22.

Hairuddin, who is also the coordinator of the project, said the system is capable of treating 1,000 litres of water within one hour, or on average producing about 8,000 to 10,000 litres of clean water per day, to be distributed to villagers in the district.

He said water from Sungai Papar filtered using the WASH system will go through three stages of filtration, with samples of the treated water taken by the state Water Department for quality testing, to ensure it meets the set standards and is guaranteed to be safe and clean for consumption.

"I hope this effort will help in the supply of clean water to Papar and that it reaches the community in need,” he told Bernama here Thursday (March 28).

On March 13, the Papar Disaster Management Department (JPBD), in a statement, declared Papar, located about 38km from Kota Kinabalu, as a drought disaster area following the water supply crisis reaching a critical level due to the hot weather scorching the area.

Meanwhile, WASH team leader Azryan Ismail said the Papar District Disaster Management Committee (PKOB) was also satisfied with the initiative implemented by the MRCS team because it can give drought-hit villagers access to clean water.

He said the Red Crescent provided three water collection tanks each with a capacity of 1,000 litres,1,500 litres and 5,000 litres at the WASH site where residents can collect their water supply.

"We are expected to operate at this WASH site for two weeks until April 4, but if the water supply problem (in Papar) is not resolved, then the operation may continue,” he said, adding that a total of seven volunteers were assigned on rotation to ensure the project runs well.

Commenting further, Papar District Officer Mohd Fuad Abdullah informed that the MRCS team which continued the initiative to treat the water of Sungai Papar-Mandalipau through the WASH method had succeeded in producing 6,360 litres of potable water to be distributed to villagers yesterday.

"After examining water samples by the Papar District Water Department, it was confirmed that the treated water met safety standards to be used,” he said.

So far, Mohd Fuad, who is also the chairman of PKOB (disaster control operations centre) Papar, said as many as 44 villages, 37 schools, 19 housing estates and eight houses of worship in the district have been affected by the drought, involving about 150,000 residents, with supply operations of clean water carried out in 18 localities in the district.

He said the Papar District Water Department also reported that repair work on one of the damaged pumps at the Kogopon Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was completed yesterday, and with this, water production will be restored to the maximum amount of 40 million litres per day (MLD).

In February, one of the three pumps in the WTP was damaged which affected the total water production of five MLD, and the repair was delayed as the spare parts had to be ordered from abroad, he said. - Bernama

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