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Decades of living through a water crisis

The residents of Kampung Bongor in Gerik have long struggled with a shortage of clean water supply resulting from low pressure.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
A villager checks the water pump at his house in Kampung Bongor, Gerik.
A villager checks the water pump at his house in Kampung Bongor, Gerik.

Situated near the Malaysia-Thailand border, Kampung Bongor is the last settlement in upper Gerik before wilderness takes over the region.

Despite having a dam and water treatment plant located not too far from the village, close to 100 houses there lack access to clean water.

It is understood that low pressure is the reason water cannot be distributed to houses located farther away from the main road.

This has been a problem plaguing the villagers for decades. Owing to the shortage of clean water, some residents depend on wells, while others have resorted to using river water.

Nor Khaiziah washes plates at her house using spring water piped directly to her sink. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, a resident known as Nor Khaiziah said the issue of water scarcity, one that she has been enduring since childhood, makes it difficult to carry out daily routines during prolonged droughts or heavy rains.

"When it rains, groundwater seeps into the well, and the water in our homes becomes dirty," she said.

Her house, located amid the forest, relies on water from a natural well, connected through a pipe.

She added that her family had requested water supply and filled out forms during the previous elections, but no action was taken.

There is a fire station in the village, but it does not have a water supply.

Another resident, Mohd Sobi Ismail, said that he spent around RM5,000 seven years ago to connect a pipe from a nearby river to his house.

"The water from the communal source is not sufficient, especially during peak hours like Friday afternoons when many people use it.

"The same goes for evening prayer times," he said.

A villagers clears leaves and dirt from the river water which is the only source of water for his home. 

There have been instances where residents' laundry in the washing machine becomes dirty due to the murky water.

The villagers are now hoping for the construction of water tanks to be connected to the existing pipe system as a temporary solution.

The location for the tanks has also been identified.

"If possible, we also want a clean water supply. We have made requests to the elected representatives, but nothing has been done," they said.

The residents were told that allocation and financial issues are the reasons why the water tanks have not been built yet.