SIBU, June 24 — The allegation by several parties that there is no long-term plan to solve the water supply disruptions here is completely untrue and baseless, said Sarawak Utility and Communication Minister Datuk Seri Julaihi Narawi.

Annoyed by the actions of these parties, who seemed ignorant of the water supply project development plans by his ministry, Julaihi said this would create a bad perception among the public.

“I would like to emphasise here that we have a thorough plan to develop four water supply systems in Sibu via the Second Sibu Water Supply Master Plan Study, 2013, especially for the Sibu area, and Sarawak Water Supply Master Plan and Water Grid, 2021 for the whole of Sarawak including the Sibu Division.


“The master plan has outlined the development of water supply in Sarawak for the period until 2025, 2040 and 2070 incorporating three strategic cores namely water demand; water treatment and distribution; and water quality and sufficiency for both raw and treated water,’’ he said.

Speaking to reporters after officiating the ground-breaking ceremony of the Salim Water Treatment Plant Upgrading Project here today, he said the master plan was aimed at developing a water grid system that includes the development of raw water sources, treatment and distribution that will connect all major plants across Sarawak, thus forming a continuous water grid system.

Julaihi said the project to upgrade the Salim plant to increase its capacity from 150 million litres per day (MLD) to 300 MLD was implemented by the Sibu Water Board (SWB), with an approved project scheme value of RM300 million, and design works were funded through a federal government loan amounting to RM8.6 million.


The SWB is currently operating at a capacity rate of approximately 195 MLD from the existing water treatment plants which are the Salim plant at 150 MLD and Bukit Lima plant (45 MLD).

With that, the SWB no longer has excess margin reserves to cover the additional needs of current demand or to cover increased demand in the future.

Therefore, Julaihi said, it is very important to start the plant upgrade project immediately as delaying its implementation will cause a water crisis in Sibu, especially at peak times or during the dry season.

“Because of that, the Sarawak government decided to fully finance the construction cost of this project which is RM291.4 million, and this amount also involves the cost of site supervision and (cost) of reclaiming the land,” he said, adding that the project started on May 20, with a 30-month contract, and the project is expected to be completed in 2026.

With the completion of this project, the capacity of the Salim plant will increase to meet the rising water needs in Sibu until 2036.

The plant is also said to be one of the main water treatment plants (anchor plants) under the Sarawak Water Supply Master Plan and Water Grid for the state’s central zone which will cover the water needs in the Sibu Division which also covers Kanowit, Selangau, Maradong, Rassau, Machan, Nibong Tada and the surrounding areas.

While waiting for the project to be completed, Julaihi said the “Non Revenue Water Reduction Works and Services for Sibu Water Board” project had started in April for a period of 24 months, with the goal of reducing non-revenue water (NRW) by 10-15 MLD so that these savings could be channelled to users.

He added that based on the Water Supply Regulations, 1995, water supply agencies in Sarawak are only responsible for supplying water and maintaining water supply facilities up to only the water meters of premises. — Bernama