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Sandakan's salty water problems under control, says Sabah Works Minister

Publish date: Wed, 29 Nov 2023, 12:06 PM

KOTA KINABALU: The salty water supply problem in the Sandakan district highlighted over a year ago is now under control, says Datuk Shahelmey Yahya.

The state Works Minister said that according to a Sabah Health Department water quality monitoring report, the chloride content for water supply in Sandakan showed a decreasing trend from January to November this year.

“There is a consistent drop in the chloride content and it has reached the allowed level set by the Health Ministry,” he said during his winding up speech at the state legislative assembly sitting on Tuesday (Nov 28).

He said the Water Department had been getting samples of the water and testing it since December 2022.

Shahelmey said salt water had entered the Betotan Dam from the Segaliud River, which had caused the issue.

He said weekly checks were being conducted now, by appointed agencies and contractors under the Water Department together with federal Health Ministry officials.

For a long term solution, he said the Sabah Water Department will apply to the Finance Ministry to appoint engineering consultants to provide a detailed study and design to upgrade the Segaliud treatment plant.

This includes the construction of new intake points starting next year, said Shahelmey, adding that these would also include searching for new water source locations that can cater to the needs of consumers up to the year 2050.

Earlier, he said the ministry through the Water Department will continue improving water supply system to the state via several initiatives, among which include taking short term measures in nine districts - Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Papar, Lahad Datu, Keningau, Beaufort, Tawau and Sandakan.

“We will also be installing bulk meter systems or water vendors in areas that are known for water thefts and illegal connections,” he said.

Several other high impact projects for water supply solutions are also in the pipelines under the federal soft loan budget, said Shahelmey.

During the debate, Lamag assemblyman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and former Works Minister asked why the ministry did not request for a RM22bil funding to solve water woes in Sabah as that was the needed amount calculated when he was minister.

He had asked why the ministry only asked for RM320mil in funds to address the problem.

To this, Shahelmey said the state actually needed about RM12bil to solve water problems, and not RM22bil but they needed the immediate funding first, and that was why RM320mil was requested first.

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