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Suffering water woes in Sepanggar

9 Nov 2021

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: Water disruptions in Sepanggar are known as the never-ending woes that have grown from bad to worse this year alone.

When asked about it, residents of the parliamentary constituency often start with a long and weary sigh which implies how arduous it is to even talk about it.

They said this has going on for so many years but worsens in 2021. It has now become a norm to stock up bottles of mineral water at home in case water starts trickling again.

A resident of Seri Maju Sepanggar Ria Apartment who has been living there since 2018 sketched her ‘traumatising’ experience with water woes in the area at the time she tested positive for Covid-19.

She blamed the absence of water supply that went on for 14 days for the unfortunate event. If it weren’t because of it, she wouldn’t need to frequently go to a friend’s house – where she caught the virus – to shower.

“My suffering tales started in May when we lost water supply for more than two weeks. Since there was no water at my house, I had to go to a friend’s house to shower on a regular basis.

“Little did I know, one of my friend’s housemates had visited a sick person who then tested positive for Covid-19. My friend also tested positive and passed it to me,” said the resident who only wanted to be known as Ann.

She disclosed that in a span of 30 days, there will at least be 10 days that water disruption would occur in her residential area.

On this matter, Ann said multiple initiatives have been done by the residents to get their pleas heard by the relevant department, which includes putting up banners to voice out their plights, but what they always receive was a mere affirmation that this issue would be investigated.

Aside from that, the Sabah Water Department (JANS) would always say: “We are still waiting for our technician (to conduct inspections),” of which the residents have grown tired of hearing, Ann said.

However, it was another story when dealing with the housing management. Apparently, the management was clueless about the water status of its residents where they thought everything was fine.

“I was asked if it was my water meter that was tapped off. But how it could be when the rest of my neighbours on the fourth floor also faced the same issue?

“After learning about our plights, the housing management said they would lodge a complaint to JANS.

“I have called JANS so many times to get an update about our situation. It took me so many days to pester them about this before they issued a notice of water disruption and sent their technicians to inspect the pump house.

“From my understanding, the housing management failed to press JANS to take prompt actions and at the same time, JANS failed to ensure the water pressure is stable throughout the water rationing period,” she asserted.

Aside from her Covid-19 catastrophe, Ann also suffered injuries due to the water woes there. The time when complaints have been made to JANS, water rationing was done to temporarily resolve the issue.

But the low water pressure, which was believed to be the main whys and wherefores of the problem in that area, was never fixed.

This means that water could not reach those who live in the higher levels, including Ann, so what they had to do was carry some buckets and get water from the emergency tank at the ground floor.

“Every single day, my nephews and I had to carry gallons of water back and forth from the ground floor to the fourth floor, where our unit is.

“One time, I fell down from the third floor all the way to the ground floor and sprained my ankle while carrying buckets of water. I was lucky I didn’t die,” she said.

For Ann, this problem has greatly affected her livelihood, health and even her finance. She said her expenses have budged drastically as she had to spend for mineral waters, laundromats, and food take-outs on a regular basis.

“I am the sole provider for my mom and four of my nephews and nieces. On top of that, I have other responsibilities and mortgages like everyone else. Imagine the extra expenses because every day I had to order outside food that would cost no less than RM40 to RM50.

“To make sure I keep my spending on a budget, we had to resort to instant noodles. Imagine seeing kids eating instant noodles. I feel sorry for them because I can’t give them proper food. I can’t do much if all my money goes to mineral water and laundromats.

“This issue has ruined my life completely. I wish I could move out but it’s not that easy since my mother bought this house some 10 years ago.

“I’m also planning to sell this house, but I can’t find a buyer. I just want to go back to Kiulu (hometown) instead of facing daily uncertainties on whether there is water or not.”

For the entire month of October, Ann revealed that the water pressure was very low and JANS needed to conduct rationing. At times, she only got about three hours of a wee bit of water.

“There was a day in November that the water pressure was normal, but on the next day, the pump at the pump house broke down again so we experienced another three consecutive days with no water,” she said.

For this matter, as a resident of Sepanggar, Ann expressed disappointment in the director JANS who recently received the Datukship title “but never quite does anything to solve water issues in Sepanggar”.

“He does not return calls, he does not visit this area,” she noted.

Water woes are not only experienced by residents of the housing area but also many others such as University Condominium Apartment (UCA), Bandar Sierra, Taman Bukit Sepanggar and Taman Rimba.


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