The 5 housewives who visited Bengoh villages recently helped raised Rm40k needed to install minihydros for the 2 Bengoh villages which will be displaced by the Bengoh dam! The amount was reached yesterday -within 3 months that they started collecting donation for the cause. In between the 5 visited the 3 affected villages by trekking into the area where there is no motorised transports. Seeing things with their own eyes they managed to get themselves better convinced and informed on the plight faced by the Bidayuh communities. The minihydros are planned to be installed in the drier period of February/March.
Currently many remote and isolated villages of Sarawak are looking for minihydros to help them generate electricity that is badly needed for lighting and other electrical applications eg charging mobile phones. Their scattered locations and small consumption make it non-practical for electricity supplier to extend their grid lines to their areas-thus making minihydros the most sensible option for them. However due to various factors this obvious social need has not been met. Meanwhile these communities depend on diesel generators for those who can afford them-and also afford the costly fuel within the distant villages.
The Bengoh minihydro project is intended to showcase DIY home made minihydro fabrication -including the fabrication of simple turbine design. It is hope that if the cost of these units of generators of 5kw-10kw can be kept to Rm10-15k/unit, more villages can even afford to build the units themselves, especially where there are ready supply of water/waterfalls/rivers.
2 models of minihydros are considered here: one that work with waterfall, and another that work with quick flowing rivers, both of which do not require advance technologies. It is an indictment of the state governments that such communities in Sarawak’s interiors continue to be kept in the dark in more ways than one, half a century after Independence!