SIBU: There are about 90 water treatment plants throughout the state which are now managed by the Rural Water Supply Department (RWSD).
Minister of Public Utilities, Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said that about 61 per cent of the state is currently supplied with treated water and the state government intends to increase the coverage to 100 per cent by 2025.
“The rest of the 39 per cent of the areas especially in rural areas are only enjoying water from water tanks and gravity-feed system,” he said, adding that the setting up of RWSD more than a year ago was aimed at achieving the target.
He added that about 90 water treatment plants are now being managed by RWSD which were previously under the Public Works Department.
“Thus, by 2025, we hope to be able to provide treated water to 100 per cent of consumers in the state,” he said at the launching of the State-level World Water Day 2017 and official opening of Rural Water Supply Department, Sibu Office at Jalan Pedada here, yesterday.
To achieve the target, Dr Stephen said it also needed to ensure that it had enough supply of electricity to power its facilities.
“Electricity and water need to go hand in hand. We will need to develop our own source of power besides getting them from SEB (Sarawak Energy Berhad). We are confident that our water plan for the state can be achieved if we have good power supply.
“That is why we have the programme like Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (Sawas) and stand alone water treatment plants. For the Sawas programme, the ministry has identified six areas as a starting point for us to see how
Sawas can actually be more affective in terms of supplying water where people can feel the difference,” he said.
He said of the six areas which the ministry had identified to provide uninterrupted supply of treated water using the latest technology, two of the areas required the water authority to have its own power source.
“Since, we have another programme like Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares), hence we can go along with Sares which is done by SEB and the state government and when there is a power source, we can deliver the Sawas programme,” he added.
Moreover, he called on the people not to take the abundance of water for granted.
“We have plenty of rain and there are many rivers in the state which provide us with lots of water. Do not take it for granted by wasting water. It would be ironic if we have water problems one day,” he said and urged the people to report to the water board in their respective area of burst pipes to prevent revenue losses from Non-Revenue Water (NRW).
Among those present were Assistant Minister for Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications), Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Assistant Minister for Science Research and Biotechnology, Dr Annuar Rapaee and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Public Utilities, Dato Ir Alice Jawan Empaling, Dudong Assemblyman Datuk Tiong Thai King, Ngemah Assemblyman Alexander Vincent and director of RWSD, Daniel Wong.