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Enhancing use of Sarawak’s water resources through dams

LETTER | The recent visit by Sarawak’s chief minister and delegation to Canada with the aim of enhancing the state’s water resources is a step in the right direction.

Canada’s utilisation of the Great Lakes for power generation and other applications have propelled the country forward on numerous fronts in industry, agriculture and tourism amongst the most obvious.

In fact, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba rely on hydropower for most of their needs and in Tasmania, hydropower is even sold to mainland Australia.

As stated by the chief minister, there is currently very limited use of the hydro dams in the state other than generating power which is deemed under-performing and more applications should be in place, including tourism which will ultimately provide opportunities to locals living around the dams’ sites.

Better uses of the power from dams will also enhance the state’s economy especially in developing industries and other synergistic applications which will generate a better return of investments from the construction of the dams.

The building of the dams in Sarawak was one of the strategies of the state to attract investments, especially for industries requiring vast energy input at reasonable rates.

Given the state’s low population base, distances from major markets and limited infrastructure, the dams were to act as a catalyst for foreign investments to the state and as expected, these investments opportunities take time to mature.

With the global trend of going green, hydro energy will certainly have a distinct advantage in the future as it is environmentally friendly, abundant and relatively cheap over a long time period.

Hopefully, Sarawak’s hydro lakes will experience more development following the study tour by the delegation to Canada which will augur well for the state and its people.

The writer is director, Sarawak Institute for Public Affairs (Sipa).

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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