MALAYSIA, Mudung Abun, Belaga District, Sarawak - May 2009
Integrated community-based micro-hydro power system in support of 1,236 acres of watershed for 30 years
The Kenyah community is one of Borneo's indigenous tribes that still depend on natural resources for their livelihood. Mudung Abun, which in the Kenyah language means "Cloud Mountain," describes the location of their village in the remote mountainous region of the Belaga District in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. The community has a population of approximately 300 people who are mostly hill paddy farmers. The Institut Pribumi Malaysia Sarawak (IPIMAS), in collaboration with fellow NGO Partners of Community Organizations (PACOS Trust), are launching a project to promote renewable energy and enhance watershed conservation by building a 50 kilowatt micro-hydro energy system. The electricity from the system will be used to light 22 homes, community verandas, a women's cooperative sundry shop, food processing center, blacksmithing and welding workshop, and a community hall. The micro-hydro system will replace and eliminate the use of polluting fossil fuels currently used by eight generators and three rice-milling machines, all of which are powered by diesel. This project will eliminate the use of at least 211 gallons of diesel per month. Seacology will fund the construction of the micro-hydro system in support of the entire 1,236-acre watershed area being protected against shifting cultivation, logging, road construction and other extractive development activities.
UPDATE December 2009 - As of December 2009 the project coordinator reports that the community has identified suitable sites for the construction of the project weir, fore-bay and power house. The community has built a 1km long trail/road to the project sites and has started to gather building materials for the construction of the different civil work components of the project. Site clearing for the fore-bay, weir, and power house have been completed and construction of the fore-bay is in progress. The ground survey and demarcation line for the penstock (the pipe from the stream to the turbine) has been completed. The clearing and digging work along the penstock line is in progress. IPIMAS has conducted a community consultation workshop on micro-hydro power development that was attended by the members of the village. The workshop explored the importance of micro-hydro power to the local community, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, watersheds protection, socio-economic development planning and livelihood activities.
UPDATE March 2010 - As of March 2010 the penstock for the water to run the turbine has been connected to the powerhouse. Excavating work for the weir & intake has been completed. The forebay is under construction.
UPDATE May 2010 - As of May 2010 the project contact reports that the micro hydro project in Mudung Abun is progressing well. The construction of the forebay has been completed and the weir is under construction.
UPDATE September 2010 - As of September 2010 the project contact reports that the major components of the micro hydro project have been completed; works at the weir/dam and the forebay sites have been completed, the penstocks have been laid to the powerhouse and the construction of the powerhouse has been completed. Additionally, the turbine and the generator in the powerhouse have been installed and the test run for the turbine was carried out for an hour and the system is working well. Currently the village is working on connecting the main electrical cable lines to the longhouse and wiring individual houses. The project should be fully completed within the month.
UPDATE January 2011 - A final report for this project submitted by project partner Institut Pribumi Malaysia Sarawak (IPIMAS) was received in November 2010. In-kind support and services for the implementation of the project were provided by a variety of nongovernmental and community-based organizations, and Mudung Abun villagers contributed manpower and labor in the tradition of gotong royong (community self-help). The system is now providing 20 kilowatts of renewable energy a day for the community, eliminating the use of polluting fossil fuels. The community has set aside the catchment area of the Abun River as totally protected; all destructive human activities are prohibited within the area. The community has also planted numerous indigenous tree species, as well as some fruit-bearing trees within the watershed and along the banks of the Dangang and Abun Rivers. Various socio-economic activities have been identified and are being planned, and basic business skill trainings have been requested. A community-based conservation workshop was held in March 2010. The implementation of this project has improved the living conditions of the community, is saving money previously spent on fuel for generators, women now have more time for socioeconomic activities such as handicrafts, and the community is now more interested in conserving their watershed and forest areas, since the forest is the source of power for the village. The official project opening took place on December 20, 2010.