Seven days and counting without water in Labuan

Residents in Labuan line up to collect water as the water disruption on the island continues. (Bernama pic)

LABUAN: The unprecedented water crisis that crippled supply to the duty-free island here has entered its seventh day, with 85% of consumers deprived of water while the Labuan Water Department’s appointed contractors continue working to solve the problem.

Attempts since July 7 to repair the leak in the main pumping pipe at the Jalan Rancha-Rancha traffic lights have remained unsuccessful with the affected area submerged in water.

Water Department director Muhammad Zulkeflee Yusof earlier said it would take at least 10 days after repair works end for consumers to start getting clean water.

The leak in the 800mm main pumping pipe from receiver tanks at Pulau Enoe which provides 85% of the water supply to consumers here was detected last Saturday. Repair works began three days later.

Among the factors complicating the repair work is the submersion of the area in water. Although water is being pumped out for welding work, groundwater continues to flood the affected area.

Employees of oil and gas companies, including Petronas Carigali, have offered assistance but this has been unsuccessful due to heavy rains flooding the area.

Affected residents who have resorted to collecting water from trucks sent by the local authorities say they have been left in the dark about the progress of the work.

The Labuan Corporation and Water Department have placed 43 static tanks with clean water in 35 locations at 27 villages and residential areas, but some consumers are still complaining about the inadequate supply of water.

“There is a lack of communications with the residents,” said Aishah Bidin.

“I’m not sure what’s going on and I don’t know when we are going to see a solution.”

Another resident, Elvinna Sibil, said the lack of water was a major inconvenience.

“I’ve been boiling water that I’ve been getting from this water truck to do dishes,” she said.

“We’ve been having bird baths for days now. My laundry is piling up. There are so many things that you can’t do.”

The water woes have also affected the Membedai health clinic, which has been receiving water through a water tanker sent each day by the Labuan Water Department.

Locals hope to have the water supply restored before Hari Raya Aidil Adha celebrations at the end of July.

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