Sarawak schools tube well water worse after filtered – Auditor General report

By S. Harrish

THE tube well system in Sabah and Sarawak’s rural schools are inefficient and ineffective, with filtered water being murkier than raw unprocessed water.

According to the Auditor-General’s Report, this was mainly due to lack of monitoring by the Ministry of Education and non-compliance to contract terms and Minerals and Geoscience Department guidelines.

The report also said the cost of the maintenance contract from 2006 to 2021 totalled RM733.51 million, reports Borneo Post.

The AG report said the Audit Department visited 48 schools in Sarawak and Sabah early this year and found only 31 (64.6%) of the tube well systems in good condition, while 14 others (29.2%) in partially good condition.

It said this was due to the lack of water coming from the tube wells due to damage to the reverse osmosis system, power generation and electrical systems.

This led to 28 or 58.3% of the schools audited to depend on other water sources such as gravity feed and rainwater harvesting systems.

The report also said it was found that water quality at seven schools was at a very unsatisfactory level.

Four of the schools are in Sarawak namely SK Nanga Sikat, Mukah; SK Hj. Bollah, Saratok; SK Perpat, Saratok, and SK Sembayang, Sri Aman.

The three other schools are in Sabah namely SK Daingin, Papar, SK Belatik, Papar, and SK Kapa, Tuaran.

The Health Ministry tested samples from 47 schools and found the water at 15 schools in Sarawak and four schools in Sabah to be unsafe for consumption.

According to the report, tube well systems were built at 419 rural schools (223 in Sarawak and 196 in Sabah) from the years 2002 to 2016 at a cost of RM220.36 million as an alternative water source.

As of Jan 31 this year, 334 schools (79.7%) were still using the tube well system.