Friday, March 12, 2010

Sabah Minister asked to stop Kaiduan Dam

A global petition asks the Sabah Chief Minister to stop the implementation of Kaiduan Dam following complaints that the environmental assessment has not been done in consultation with the affected peoples.

The 150 meter proposed Kaiduan Dam will be built in Ulu Papar, Sabah washing away 350 kilometers of traditional lands as a water catchment reserve. This will include the flooding of 12 square kilometers locating 9 indigenous villages. Around 1,400 indigenous Dusun people live in the Ulu Papar villages of Kalanggaan, Pongobonon, Longkogungan, Terian and the Buayan-Kionob hamlets of Timpayasa, Tiku, Buayan and Kionob. Most of these subsistence swidden villages are located within the proposed water catchment reserve.

The proposed flooding of 12 square kilometers includes a government primary school, 3 community preschools, churches, graves, tamus (village markets), houses, fruit and vegetable gardens, suspension bridges, rice mills and rice fields.

Kaiduan Dam will be connected by a 3.75m diameter tunnel to channel water to a water treatment plant proposed in Maang village. The tunnel runs through the territories of an additional eight indigenous communities including the villages Timpangoh, Sugud, and Limbanak, a densely populated area, until it reaches Maang. From Maang, the water will travel by tunnel to Lok Kawi where it will be channeled by pipe to houses in Penampang, Kota Kinabalu and other areas.

A feasibility study and submission of technical proposals for the implementation of the Kaiduan Dam Project was granted by the Sabah government in February 2008. This led to the selection of Contractor WCT Bhd which appointed SMHB Sdn Bhd to conduct the preliminary feasibility study. Following the results of the feasibility, a letter of intent was issued to WCT Bhd on 15 May 2009 requesting WCT Bhd to carry out detailed feasibility studies, full environmental impact assessment and preparation of detailed technical proposals for the construction of the Kaiduan Dam.

It was learned that the Water Resources Council was not consulted on the plans for the Kaiduan Dam Project, neither were the elected representatives or relevant government agencies who claimed to be unaware of the plans for the dam.

The government says the Kaiduan Dam will ensure sufficient water supply to Kota Kinabalu until the year 2050. The plan for the construction of the Maang Water Treatment Plant and the upgrading of two existing plants would cost RM2.8billion. The dam will be three times larger than the existing Babagon Dam which is also situated in the Penampang District. The Kaiduan Dam is additionally expected to generate 37MW of hydroelectric power.

Affected communities from nine villages (Terian, Babagon Laut, Timpayasa, Tiku, Buayan, Pongobonon, Kalanggaan, Timpangoh and Longkogungan) formed the Action Committee Against Kaiduan Dam. The Action Committee said that the government did not obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the communities and has not seriously considered environmental and social costs, Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources noted.

The Action Committee lamented that the State does not value indigenous peoples’ traditional lands, livelihood, and biodiversity.

The Committee further noted that feasibility study failed to evaluate alternative water supply solutions or comparative studies on water resource availability for Sabah.

Petition here

More background information on Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

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