KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is looking at “harvesting” the waterfalls of Mount Kinabalu for a long term sufficiency in water supply in foothills such as Kota Belud and Ranau.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (pic) said water from the falls could be tapped before they flowed into rivers that have become heavily silted after the June 5 earthquake on the mountain.
“We are looking at various practical alternatives of water sources,” said Pairin, the state Infrastructure Development Minister, after meeting Sabah Water Department officials here on Wednesday.
Other measures include the construction of more reservoirs especially in Sabah’s northern regions.
Pairin said at least two rivers flowing from the mountain that were water sources for two districts – the Sungai Kadamaian for Kota Belud and Sungai Liwagu for Kota Belud – had become heavily silted following severe erosion on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu.
This had affected water supply at both districts.
Pairin said the department would be drilling more tube wells in Kota Belud to increase water production that had reduced to less than a quarter of the 38 million litres per day (mld) demand due the severe siltation of the Sungai Kadamaian.
The department in Kota Belud had to reactivate 10 disused boreholes for water though production had been reduced to just 8mld.
The water supply shortfall had resulted in taps running dry in Kota Belud and tanker lorries including those from the Fire and Rescues Services Department had to be used to distribute water.
In another development, Pairin said the reluctance among some rural folk to fork out RM231 for water supply connection fees was the reason why they were unable to tap water.
Citing an example, he said just 38 of the more than 300 villagers at Ulu Sugut in Ranau district had paid the fees and were now receiving tapped water supply.
“Perhaps many were already getting gravity feed water supply so they do not have to rely on piped water,” Pairin added.