Sarawak to model mega dam management after Canada, CM says

Sarawak has Bakun (picture), Murum and Batang Ai hydro power plants while Baleh is under construction. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Energy Berhad
Sarawak has Bakun (picture), Murum and Batang Ai hydro power plants while Baleh is under construction. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Energy Berhad

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KUCHING, Oct 7 — Sarawak will be taking Canada as a model in the management and governance of its mega dams and water usage, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.

He said Canada, in particular the province of Ontario, has a long history and reputation of hydro power generation with the first hydro plant built about 100 years ago.

He said hydro power plants produced more than 70,000 MW of electricity in Canada which is second only to China.

Abang Johari led a state delegation on a four-day study of Canada which ended today.

Sarawak has Bakun, Murum and Batang Ai hydro power plants while Baleh is under construction and is expected to be completed in 2025.

Bengoh dam, however, supplies raw water for treatment plants for the southern region of Sarawak.

In a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, Abang Johari said Sarawak has to learn from Ontario on various aspects of water management such as water policy, water legislation, water research, development of water bodies and environmental enforcement and compliance.

“The things learned during the trip would be useful input in Sarawak’s desire to formulate a water policy and water legislation in order to turn water into a precious economic asset,” he pointed out.

The chief minister said the visit had demonstrated to his delegation how water was treated as a precious commodity to generate economic returns for the country, particularly Ontario.

He said he was particularly impressed with how various legislation had been introduced in the province to regulate the many uses of water while Sarawak had practically none.

“The Ontario water legislation had also provided a clear picture of what came under federal and provincial jurisdiction in Canada in the governance of the extensive system of water bodies in the country, including the Great Lakes,” he added.

He pointed out that Ontario even had a special institution to conduct research on water citing the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo near Toronto.

The Water Institute is among the places of interest included in the chief minister’s itinerary in Ontario.

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