Little risk of seismic activity at dam project site

KUCHING: There is little risk of seismic activity in the proposed Baleh Dam project area according to various studies, the State Legislative Assembly heard.

Assistant Public Utilities Minister Datuk Sylvester Entri said a geological study and seismicity assessment were conducted in accordance with established guidelines of the International Commission on Large Dams by MWH Global Malaysia and GHD Group during the feasibility study in 2010.

He said similar studies were conducted by SMEC Malaysia during the pre-engineering phase last year, when reference was also made to studies on Sarawak’s regional seismicity for dams conducted by Australia’s Seismology Research Centre.

“The geological study revealed that there is no evidence of karstic limestone in the reservoir area and thus leakage in the reservoir due to cavernous limestone is unlikely.

“The seismic study concluded that the risk of seismic activity in the project area is insignificant. Assessment from the studies was used as the essential basis for the final design of the dam,” he told Yap Hoi Liong (DAP-Dudong) during question time yesterday.

Entri said the assessment was also reported in the project’s social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA), which was approved by the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) on March 13 this year.

“Dam safety is of utmost importance for all proposed hydroelectric projects (HEPs) undertaken by the state. The Baleh HEP is no exception,” he added.

On the SEIA report, he said it was made available for public viewing at various district and government offices in May last year and written comments could be forwarded to NREB until June the same year.

The report was also subjected to external review on Sept 18 last year, which involved several government agencies and NGOs.

“Following this stakeholder review process, the report was approved by the NREB in March. Members of the public are still able to view the report at NREB’s office,” he said.

To a supplementary question from Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) on ensuring that resettlement problems from the Bakun dam were not repeated, Entri said the Baleh dam did not involve any resettlement.

Source URL: The Star