Dry pipes force KK hotels to buy water from private firms

Dry pipes force KK hotels to buy water from private firms

Dry pipes force KK hotels to buy water from private firms
Courtesy: Durie Rainer Fong | News Source: freemalaysiatoday.com

KOTA KINABALU: Hotels here have resorted to buying water from private companies because of inconsistent water supply in the city.

Their owners say they have no choice but to absorb the costs because it would be unfair to pass them on to their guests.

Sabah and Labuan Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chairman Gordon Seet said low pressure was causing water to trickle from taps “from two to five times a week”.

“Buying water from tankers supplied by private firms is expensive. They usually charge about 35 sen per litre,” Seet told FMT.

He said the shortage did not occur daily as there were days when the supply was enough for the hotels’ needs.

“However, it can happen at an average of two to five times a week, with between one and three trips made each day by the tankers,” he said.

Seet, who is the general manager of the Kota Kinabalu Marriot Hotel, said some major hotels required up to 20,000 litres of water a day. He said he was compiling data on the hotels’ water purchases.

He said many members of the association had informed him that they had written to the water department but the situation had not improved.

“Among the reasons are high demand and low pressure at the end of the pipeline,” he said, adding that the association would send an official letter to the department soon.

“It would be helpful if the department can supply us water without any charge or even at a lower price than what the private companies are charging,” he said.

Tourism brings in much revenue to Sabah, which recorded 3.7 million foreign and domestic visitors from January to November last year.

The Sabah Tourism Board said 43% of these arrivals chose hotels for their accommodation.

Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Peter Anthony, when asked about the problem faced by the hoteliers, said the design capacity of the water pipes was no longer suited to current needs, especially with the increasing population.

“The design capacity and water demand are from 10 years ago and was meant only to cater to a number of residents in a particular areas,” he said after an event near here today.

However, he said the government would look into the needs of the hotels.

Anthony also said he expected the water issue in Sabah to be resolved once such projects like the Papar Dam were completed.