RAUB: Since the town – less than two hours from Kuala Lumpur – styled itself as the durian capital of the country, it has seen a steady stream of visitors, especially tourists from Singapore and China.
This has led to a boom in business and socioeconomic activities, particularly construction and homestays.
However, this has also resulted in an increase in traffic jams, especially on weekends during the durian season and a strain on water supply. Among others, Raub town gets its supply from Sg Bilut, Sg Sempam and Sg Klau.
From the gleaming water tanks in their front yard, it is obvious that residents in Taman Raub Jaya 6 – as in many housing areas in the district – are used to facing water cuts.
Along one road in this housing area, there are even a few houses with two tanks in a single home.
Pensioner Mohd Azmi Yahya, who moved from Kelantan to Raub in 1998, said the frequent water cuts for the past one year or so was a hassle.
“We were told that there’s a problem with the local water treatment plant – too much sedimentation. It’s very troublesome because we have three to four people living at home at one time. I can’t even use my washing machine,” he said.
Mohd Azmi said there had been rapid development in Raub recently, with new housing estates and commercial centres, especially in Bukit Koman.
“Maybe this could have put a strain on our water supply.
“But I hope the authorities will really do something to help with the water supply situation,” he said outside his home.
Mohd Azmi said the durian stalls along the main roads as well as the numerous orchards and wholesalers had led to an increase in the number of tourists.
Farm manager Yong Wah Yen, 58, said there had been persistent water cuts in the housing area since over a year ago.
“I have lived here for about 20 years. Before that, we didn’t have much problems with the water supply. But since last year, the supply has been off and on. We would have a day when there’s water, then another two days without supply,” said Yong, who has three people living in his single storey house.
“I have to make sure that I store enough water every day,” he said.
Sundry shop assistant M. Saraswathy said water cuts were almost a daily problem for her.
“I have been living with my two sisters here for over 10 years. Luckily, we don’t use much water as we do most of our cooking elsewhere.
“In the past five or six years, homestays have sprung up. There are new construction and new houses.
“Most school leavers who used to work in the factories now help to package durian products,” she said.
Raub MP Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji said the total solution to water cuts in Raub has to come from the Pahang government.
Tengku Zulpuri, who is also the Deputy Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister, said as a short-term measure, he had booked 20 static tanks to be put in critical areas in town facing water shortage.
He said he would try to reduce the problems for his constituents although the matter came under the purview of the state government.
“The total solution has to come from the state government,” he said, adding that currently, the water shortage was mainly due to heavy sedimentation at the Sg Bilut treatment plant.
Tengku Zulpuri said the state government had agreed to migrate its pipe system to the federal administration.
“We have already agreed but there will be a further discussion,” he said, adding that he was aware of the clearing for Musang King plantation in Hulu Sempam.
“But at the same time, we want to have people-friendly policies.”