Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS-Tambunan)
said this was to ensure that the people of Sabah would have
continuous and adequate water supply.
“In this respect, the Government must direct
all the District Officers and Local Government to take an
inventory of all the rivers throughout the State to be gazetted
as sources or water catchments in their respective areas,”
He said the formation of the Council would
ensure that water catchment areas in rural areas are protected
from being exploited for economic activities except those
that fall under the provision in Section 6 of the Sabah
Water Supply Enactment 1998.
Pairin was debating the Sabah Water Supply
Bill 2003 tabled by Infrastructure Development Minister
Datuk Yahya Hussin.
He also said all Village Security and Development
Committees (JKKKs) should be directed to assist in identifying
water catchment areas in their respective villages.
“Most JKKKs are not aware of the importance
of protecting and preserving their water catchments by allowing
landowners to clear their land for agricultural activities.
“As a result, during severe drought, the
villagers would suffer from depletion of water supply.”
Pairin said to reduce the cost of producing
treated water, the water intake points should also be shifted
He said Sabah was among the states in Malaysia
that have the highest cost of producing treated water.
Among reasons are the high water treatment
cost and diesel water pump purchase.
“If the water treatment plants are moved
to the highlands, this will not only reduce the cost to
treat the water but also supply water to the consumers using
gravity power,” he said.
Pairin said the relevant Ministry should
explain in detail the powers held by the Water Resource
Council and State Water Resource Director.
“The Minister concerned should also make
it clear whether water suppliers in Sabah need to have two
licences to supply the water and who has absolute power
to issue the licences,” he said.
He said water in Sabah had the potential
to be exploited to diversify the State’s economy.
“According to the World Bank, the market
for clean water throughout the world is valued at not less
than US$800 billion.
“With such vast potential for the market
for water, we should think of ways to market water throughout
the world,” he said.
He said the Government must find ways to
tap the water resources as an asset to diversify its income
source in the long run.