“Mum! There’s no water!”

By Patricia Hului
@pattbpseeds
 
 

IMAGINE WAKING up, getting out of bed, groggily making your way to the bathroom and when you turn on the tap, there is no water.

 

Don’t you hate when that happens?

 

Then comes the complaining and the whining right after: “Mum! There’s no water!”

 

We are the first to complain on social media sites, the first to call LAKU telling them how we foot the water bill every month and yet this sort of thing happens.

 

Little do we know that located not far from us in the outskirt areas, not having enough water supply is part of daily life.

 

Just 2 hours’ drive from Kuching is a Selako kampung of Tebaru in Lundu. The first pipeline providing water to Kampung Tebaru and its neighbour Kampung Jempari was built in 1974.

 

Back then there were only 20 families in Kampung Tebaru and the neighbouring village, Kampung Jempari had less than 10. The water supply was enough for the residents, at the time.

 

In 1984, the original galvanized iron pipe was replaced with PVC piping. Thirty years later with 55 families from Kampung Tebaru and 16 from Jempari, the residents are still relying on the same water source for daily use.

 

Lian Digai, 54, is the headman of Kampung Tebaro. He shared that the old PVC pipe was susceptible to leakage and over the years could no longer support the increase in the number of population.

 

He said “This led to low water pressure problems especially during peak hours, such as early morning, noon and late evening.”

 

Thanks to the iM Sarawak Clean Water Project, the residents now can enjoy uninterrupted water supply at any given time of the day.

 

Alice Undek, 48, was born in Kampung Tebaro where she has lived all of her life. According to her, “Especially during dry season, there’s no water at all coming out from the tap, we have to go down to the river for water supply.”

 

HAPPY: Alice as a housewife is happy that the water pressure is higher than it used to be

HAPPY: Alice as a housewife is happy that the water pressure is higher than it used to be

 

The idea of iM Sarawak Clear Water Project is to provide the fund and technical support to villagers in upgrading the water systems, be it in water filtration system or better pipelines. The upgrading and maintaining works are up to the local residents. This is to provide the sense of ownership to the residents.

 

As for Kampung Tebaro and Kampung Jempari, the upgrading works include replacing the old PVC pipes with approximately 4.5 km of polypipe from the water tank. Villagers came together in last December and over the course of 2 months worked on it through ‘gotong-royong’.

 

OLD AND NEW: The old PVC pipe (left) is no longer in use, now is replaced with a bigger diameter polypipe (right).

OLD AND NEW: The old PVC pipe (left) is no longer in use, now is replaced with a bigger diameter polypipe (right).

 

On February 11, the media was invited to take a look at the new piping and the water tank which was located at 2km uphill from the main road.

 

WATER TANK: The water flows from the dam to this water tank through underwater piping.

WATER TANK: The water flows from the dam to this water tank through underwater piping.

I tip my hat to the villagers because after almost 30 minutes trekking through rubber orchard to the water tank, one can’t help but be impressed by the villagers’ hard work. It is not easy to replace 4.5 km long of pipe without the help of any heavy machines.

NOT AN EASY TASK: The 4.5 km long pipeline goes through a rubber orchard.

NOT AN EASY TASK: The 4.5 km long pipeline goes through a rubber orchard.

 

A special committee was put up in Kampung Tebaro devoted to maintaining the pipes to make sure they are clean and working.

 

iM Sarawak is a social development initiative led by 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council (1MSAC) to help improve the quality of life of various communities in rural and remote areas of the state.

 

Mas Gading MP Anthony Nogeh Gumbek who was there during the media visit, helped the villagers with their application for funds. He said approximately RM100, 000 was spent to upgrade the Kampung Tebaro-Kampung Jampari water supply.

 

Another similar iM Sarawak Clean Water Project was done for Kampung Senibong-Kampung Perian also in Lundu. There, the upgrading works included enlarging one of the existing dams, building two new water storage tanks and replacing 3.5km of PVC pipes with poly pipe. RM120, 000 was spent on the water supply system for Kampung Senibong and Kampung Perian.

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