GUA MUSANG, Dec 3 — The Orang Asli community in the Kuala Betis Resettlement Programme, here, has been forced to use rain and river water due to the water shortage from tube wells for the past year.

Kampung Ankek and Kampung Podek village chief Damak Angah, 63, said they would use rain and river water to carry out daily activities such as cooking and bathing but would buy bottles of mineral water for drinking.

Damak claimed water from the tube wells provided by the government could no longer cater to the needs of the 501 residents living in the two villages.

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He said previously, the villagers relied entirely on water from ‘tandak’ (mini dams) and tube wells built by the Department of Orang Asli Department (JKOA).

“However, the ‘air tandak’ is contaminated due to oil palm cultivation activities carried out near the villages,” he told reporters, here, today.

Damak said they reported the matter to the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad during his visit to the resettlement last month.

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A villager, Nora Kantin, 36, said her family built their mini dam to tackle the water problem.

“For now, the water source for the mini dam is rainwater that flows from the cave, which I believe is cleaner and not contaminated.

“I can only use water (from the mini dam) during the rainy season, and if it’s dry season, I have to search for another water source,” she added.

Meanwhile, Kelantan and Terengganu Jakoa director Zarina Razlan told reporters that the department took note of the water supply issue faced by the 138 household heads and was preparing initiatives to tackle the problem.

“Jakoa will upgrade the water supply system in Kampung Angkek and Kampung Podek next year. The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) officers visited the villages last week to check the situation.

“We found that the increasing population is causing a water supply shortage, and we hope to resolve it next year,” she added. — Bernama