Friday June 22, 2012
Water released at Bakun Dam to raise water level up
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: Water has been released from the Bakun hydroelectric dam to shore up the water level downstream to counter the effects of the current dry season.
Sarawak Hidro managing director and chief engineer Zulkifle Osman told The Star yesterday that the dam released up to 1,000 cubic metres of water each second into Batang Balui, which is a tributary of Batang Rajang.
“Since two days ago, we have been releasing the water to enable the people downstream from Belaga to Sibu to continue their normal activities.
“The weather in Belaga is very dry now. There has been no rain since a few weeks ago. It is said that the water level downriver of the dam had dropped a lot last week.
“The latest information we received is that the water level had returned to normal. We have more than enough water inside the reservoir so we will release more water as and when necessary.
“It is during a time like this that the importance of the reservoir can be clearly seen.
“The dam plays a very important function of serving as a much-needed water reserve in times of drought. During the rainy season, it helps to prevent flooding,” he said.
Belaga assemblyman Liwan Lagang, when contacted, said it was indeed true that certain stretches of the river were very low last week.
Yesterday, he e-mailed several pictures to The Star to prove his point.
Liwan said even the water at Pelagus rapids was low last week.
He said he was thankful that the management of the dam was closely monitoring the situation and released the water as and when necessary.
“I have received complaints about the difficulty of travelling along the rivers due to the low water level.
“Even the water pumps at Belaga town were adversely affected by low water pressure,” he said.
On the matter of housing for the Penans, Liwan said the government had repaired 18 houses in Long Unai.
Currently, 200 houses in Long Unai, Long Urun and Long Sihan are being upgraded.