KUANTAN – Two bauxite mining companies in the district were found pumping water illegally from two main rivers here which affected the source of water for 20,000 residents in three villages nearby over the past few months.
The companies operating in Felda Bukit Goh 1 and Felda Bukit Goh 3 respectively were found drawing water from Sungai Rong and Sungai Taweh into reservoirs they have built to process bauxite, causing the rivers to dry up.
Sungai Lembing state assemblyman Datuk Md Sohaimi Mohamed Shah said the situation forced the state water company, Pengurusan Air Pahang Berhad (PAIP) to lose raw water from being channeled into Bukit Goh and Bukit Sagu water treatment plants.
“We heard complaints by the people that water level at Sungai Rong and Taweh was dropping drastically following the activities of cleaning for bauxite at Felda Bukit Sagu 1 and 3.
“From our visit today, the complaints were found to be valid and we found they were extracting river water without approval,” he told reporters after carrying out a surprise visit to the two bauxite mining areas here today.
He said the survey also found the companies involved were abusing their mining permits when they were involved in such illegal activities.
“It is feared the reservoirs built to clean bauxite could cause a major flood to the local community during the monsoon season. In fact we are worried the residue water from the washing of bauxite will overflow into the river
tributaries and affect the source of clean water for villagers as the dams are located less than one kilometre from the source of water,” he said.
He hoped the state government and related authorities would take action on the matter to avoid a major tragedy during the monsoon season.
Meanwhile, Zone 21 Resident Delegates Committee chairman Mohd Farid Basiron said one of the companies operating in a 12-hectare site was found blocking the flow of the river to divert water into the plant and their reservoirs.
“This irresponsible act caused the residents to experience water supply disruption and we have never experienced such a problem after living here for over 30 years,” he said. – BERNAMA