KUCHING: Works are underway to lay a statewide water grid towards fulfilling the government’s pledge for clean water to run through all the nook and corners of Sarawak by 2025.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari assured that once the state water grid is completed, water shortages will be a thing of the past.

“Like the state electricity grid, we will channel water from sources like our dams and rivers where the water is available 24 hours.

“We will treat the water and run it through the main grid, come 2025, the state will be supplied with clean water statewide and be a boon to our economy,” he said when officiating at the Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) Excellent Service Award dinner at a hotel here on Wednesday.

Abang Johari, who celebrated his third year in office last Monday said that among his first acts as chief minister was to address the state’s water supply woes.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (second right) with (from left) Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; Rural Electricity Assistant Minister Datuk Liwan Lagang; Water Supply Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi and JBALB director Chang Kuet Shian upon their arrival at JBALB Appreciation Night at The Waterfront hotel, Kuching on Wednesday night. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

“Water is important and that is why early in my tenure, we held a meeting to address the issue and formulated a plan.

“But then, the problem was we were reliant on federal funding, which was inconsistent,” he explained.

The chief minister said that to finance the water supply projects, a financing model has to be developed to utilise state funds.

“I told Rundi (Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom) that we will use state funds.

“That is also why I went to Kabong, Mukah and climb the water tanks to see the water supply level for myself,” he said.

Abang Johari pointed out that he had made available the funds in 2018, hence some of the works commenced in 2019.

“In 2020, we will utilise the full RM2.8 billion allocated for water supply delivery and develop the water stressed areas,” he said.