Water reserves at Sabah’s major dams are at a comfortable 80 per cent – but with eight major rivers having plunged to their critical levels, and another nine to their alert levels, the state has only two months of water supply remaining. (NSTP Archive)

KOTA KINABALU: Water reserves at Sabah’s major dams are at a comfortable 80 per cent – but with eight major rivers having plunged to their critical levels, and another nine to their alert levels, the state has only two months of water supply remaining.

State Water Department director Amarjit Singh said that overall water storage levels at major dams in Sandakan, Kudat, Penampang, Tamparuli, Semporna and Lahad Datu are relatively high – but with depleted rivers at critical levels amidst the ongoing heatwave, the dams’ water supplies are not being replenished.

Residents of several areas are already grappling with water shortages and dry faucets.

The problems faced by Papar, of one of the worst-affected areas, is compounded by a malfunctioning water treatment plant.

“Papar is facing a problem because one of its plants experienced sea water intrusion,” he said, adding that the district’s water supply is down by 10 million litres less, although the department has installed a weir at the Kopogon river to increase the water level.

In equally hard-hit Keningau, Amarjit said villagers still have access to an alternative water source; while in Bingkor, residents will be sent tankers to supply them with much-needed water.

As for water woes in Sipitang, the department will need a week to look into the cause of the problem and pore over a report from officers in the district.

“It is believed that the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sipitang has disrupted the water supply there,” he said.

Meanwhile, Amarjit assured Sabahans that the department will resort to cloud seeding should the dry spell persist into April.

Those who are affected and in need of water may contact the department’s careline at 088-326888.

2,599 reads