KUCHING: Floods that currently hit several parts of Sibu are not caused by the regulated discharge of water from Bakun HEP as has been speculated.
The flooding incidents affecting downstream areas including Kanowit and Sibu were due to the combination of unseasonal localised heavy rainfall with the king tide, Sarawak Energy clarified.
“The floods are not caused by the regulated discharge of water from Bakun HEP.
“The last controlled water release operation from the Bakun HEP reservoir commenced on Aug 9 and ended on Aug 22. Since then, there has been no controlled release of water from Bakun HEP except for the normal generation discharge,” it explained in a statement on Monday.
According to Sarawak Energy, Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (Bakun HEP) has in fact played a major role in mitigating the severity of flooding downstream of the Rejang river.
This was done by way of balancing both upstream reservoir and downstream water levels especially during periods of heavy rainfall.
“Since its completion, downstream flooding has been reduced and the impact mitigated as the dam holds back a large volume of rainwater all year round,” it stressed.
It said it has a dedicated team that continuously monitors water levels at the reservoir and downstream rivers on a daily basis.
The team would also advise if there is a need for controlled release in consultation with and permission from the Sarawak Rivers Board and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Sarawak.
When there is a planned regulated release operation from the spillway, the local councils and stakeholders along with the general public would be notified at least two days ahead of the scheduled release as per standard practice, it added.