Listen to the Sarawak government’s spin on the reasons for the drop in the water level of the Rajang River. If you believe what they are telling you, the main cause is a dry spell, El Nino, or even climate change.
Repeat after me, it’s not mainly due to the impoundment of the Dam, dummy. (See Borneo Post here.)
Dry spell? From what I hear, it has been raining bucket loads in some parts of Sarawak. The Post concedes: “There has been rain on some days in Central Sarawak but that has not been sufficient enough to raise the river water level.” Oh, maybe the rain just avoided the Rajang River and catchment areas. Or maybe the downpour is not enough to raise the water level. Things must be serious then, if rain cannot raise the river water level. Now we are told the water level could get lower if the ‘drought’ persists – never mind the “isolated rain”. (See Borneo Post here.) Heck, they are even calling it the El Nino effect.
But hey, a meteorological department spokesperson conceded that the impoundment of Bakun has also lowered the level of water in the river downstream. And the Bakun Hydro Sdn Bhd CEO, Zulkifle Osman, was reported as saying there had been heavy rain upstream of the dam. This must a very strange drought – musim kemarau yang sungguh ajaib.
Eh? It was only a day earlier that the Post had reported Awang Tengah as saying one week after the impoundment, heavy rains were expected that would mitigate the low water level, but it did not happen.“This (dry weather) is beyond our control,” he said.
If it is such a dry spell, pray tell what caused the recent logjam? Taib Mahmud tells us it was not due to overlogging or the impoundment. So what caused he logjam during this “dry spell”?
Whatever the spin, the situation must be pretty serious if the Sarawak Education Department is thinking of closing schools along or near affected parts of the Rajang River, as reported in the Post.
Sometimes when you start spinning, you start to contradict yourself. Instead of pointing their fingers at ‘natural disasters’ and ‘climate change’ for what’s happening at the Rajang River, Sarawak government leaders should take a long hard look at the unsustainable development model of excessive logging, widespread plantations and massive dam building they have encouraged.