Dried up stretch below Bakun


Another omen for Taib Mahmud: pictured below is a dried up stretch of river below the Bakun Dam. This picture was published in the front page of a local Chinese daily in Sarawak.

A dried up stretch of river below Bakun

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Another photo can be found at the Sarawak Update website, which reports:

The 51-door longhouse in Long Mejawah consists of 300 odd Kayan inhabitants who are now literally cut off from outside world due to the sharp decline of water level in the Balui River. Their communication with outside world has been interrupted, not to say obtaining essential supplies, sending children to schools, travelling to Belaga Bazaar to work or for official matters and other unexpected problems that may arise.

Meanwhile, Hornbill Unleashed reports:

We have just received a call from Daniel, a Kenyah teacher, in Belaga: “Nanga Merit, Nanga Metah, Punan Bah, SK Long Terawan, SK Nanga Merit, SK Punan Bah, Kampung Terawan … All the schools and villages below Belaga Town are cut off because the river has dried up due to the impoundment of Bakun Dam.”

“Even the engineers of Sarawak Hydro are telling us that the state government has no plan to overcome the problem because they are unlikely to stop the impoundment.”

“Please help us to highlight our problem. The people in those settlements need food and medicine, but the water is too shallow for boats to travel,” Daniel sounded desperate.

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tan, tanjong bungah

Hi OES, Thanks for sharing the numerious scenerios of upstream and downstream problems related to the impoundment of the massive Bakun Dam, and also problems arising after its impoundment is complete! Seems like there were no proper indepth-study done before embarking on such a massive project, though I’m sure that the main consideration then was on Dollars and Sen(se), to enrich cronies and their companies! Any objection raised then had been brushed aside, and the Federal and State GOvts had pushed for the project, presumably and under the guise that it was for the welfare of the Sarawakians and Malaysians!… Read more »

Anak Kuching

Undi lah BN. Another project by Kerjaan Barisan National. You voted them as your representatives and they did what they had to do. Come next election you are happy to host them and listen to their promises of a comfortable life. (Do away with this mentality of only Kerjaaan can help us. Kerjaaan can be BN or PRK or any others). (We) put them up there. Now you have a problem and you highlight it to the world to come to your aid. We feel sorry for your plights but there is nothing much anyone else can do other than… Read more »


Pek Moh can blame it on Nature. Pek Moh can blame it on Super-natural and angry and mad ancestral spirits. Pek Moh can fool beyond unreasonable doubts Kayan inhabitants that they are indeed the unlucky lots. Pek Moh can pledge (and forget) more roads with high transport fees for the interiors under any Malaysian Plan. Pek Moh can assure the fools in the interiors they will be all right with another 12 dams in the pipeline. Pek Moh can slyly reassure the world everything is A OK, just a hiccup of nature. Pek Moh will be timber-thick faced to unashamely… Read more »


Sarawakians deserved this disaster. They keep continue voting this govt in power.

Ong Eu Soon

This is the consequences of allowing politicians to dictate us what to do. Dr M is not a dam expert,he want a dam. So all the bodek kaki will build a dam for him disregard what is the consequences. What a shame! Bakun can now be confirm as a real white elephant which can’t generate electricity. Even if it can can there will be lot of problem. This is the best just a water reservoir. Why we need to spend so much money, caused untold damages to the environment to please a stupid old man?


Old man wants big for big kickback, but do not know how to manage big projects.

Ong Eu Soon

If Anwar is smart, this is the opportunity. Challenge BN to generate electricity from the Bakun dam! There will be not enough water to run the turbines! Anwar can has a good laugh! HA HA HA HA HA or DAP can laugh in this way HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE

Ong Eu Soon

One thing I discover that there is a huge problem in the engineering calculation. It is assume that the mean rainfall per annual is 4000mm, with catchment areas of 14,750 km2. The rainfall will be 59,000 million cubic meters. If the runoff is 70%, the total volume of water that will flow to Bakun dam is =14750×0.7x 4/1000 =41,300 million cubic meters. To generate electricity, water need to flow out. Let say all 8 gates are use for dischage with rate of 15,000 m3/s. In one year 365 days, there is 365x24x60x60 =31536000 second. Total water discharge per annual will… Read more »


Ong, please calculate the complicated maths for another 12 dams in the pipeline. One big dam is a problem, what’s more with another 12.


At the full generating capacity of a total of 2400MW with 8 gates/ turbines (assuming) the power generation capacity for each turbine is 300MW. To get that output at the water head of 200m, only about 400cu.m/s flow rate per turbine is required. So for the total output of 2400MW, 3200cu.m/s is required, not 15000 cu.m/s. So there is enough rainfall annually at the current rate. The problem is can the 3200cu. m/s flow rate be maintained throughout the year esp. during the dry season? The current issue is the drastic reduced flow downstream of the damn during the impoundment… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

I found out that the minimum flow rate to run the turbin is 200 m3/s. For the 8 gates to operate fully the total flow rate will be 1600 m3/s. The average inflow rate is estimated at 1,314 m3/s, which mean the best is only 6 turbines can be operated. To maintain year long operation, may be only 4 turbines can be operated throughout the year. 4x300MW=1200MW that is the best capacity the Bakun dam can produce. Taking into consideration that outflow rate should be higher that the operating flow rate, the number of turbines that can operate throughout may… Read more »


Wonderful! The gov’t may have finally solved the flooding problem in Sibu. On the other hand the long-house folks will have to wait to see if the gods are pleased after the ritual.

Ong Eu Soon

With a catchment area of 14,750 km², Bakun want to fill up the capacity of 43,800 million cubic meters which is bigger than the Three Gorges Dam’s capacity. This is crazy and insane, the end result is the sharp decline of water level in the Balui River. There is not enough water to fill up the dam. If the impoundment is carry out in stages to avoid the sharp decline of water level at the downstream river and its tributaries, the dam forever will not be able to fill up. What an incredible job done by the Bolehlander! With the… Read more »


We shall wait and see if Ah Soon prophecy will spell doom to the corrupted people of Sarawak.


What about the ecosystem?
The effects on the natural food chain will be felt in the coming days when certain species will starve to death due to depleting natural food sources previously thriving along the riverines. And the death chain effect will snowball into the forest interior affecting plants and animals, and eventually the helpless indigenous tribes dependent on natural food and resources.
This human error of misjudgement and mismanagement of nature will be a heavy price for the indigenous people who have no where to go. Not forgetting the flora and fauna of once majestic rainforest of the Hornbills.

Kamal B

We shall call it the OES (named after Ah Soon)phenomenon?

NatGeo should start filming a documentary on this disaster waiting to happen.