THE report ‘Nine hurt, properties damaged in fight over water’ in The National on Dec 18 is an issue of mismanagement and misappropriation of resources in ward five of Wampar local-level government area.
Land and water are resources that are scarce and limited.
Hence, proper planning of scarce resources should be paramount in settlement planning before populating land.
The land (Angkumlum) around and along the Markham River and bridge, is not conducive to human settlement as it is bound to be inundated by flooding and as such is a disaster area.
Individuals claiming ownership should not have sold customary land to settlers without proper consultations.
Settling people along the buffer zones creates an opportunity for disaster itself.
In addition, individuals residing on those portions of land are disadvantaged not only from nature but also man-made calamities from upstream development and within.
Drinking water was an issue for the Yasua communities long before immigration (Zero Block establishment).
However, the issue between Yasua and Puseka with regards to water had been resolved through proper management controls from the Puseka communities, as resource stewards.
Over time, the water capacity had been reduced due to gardening practices uphill from the water source and along its drainage.
Pressure from listed supply, compounded with increase into Markham Bridge had worsen the impact. Migration strategies such as having access to the water from 9am to 3.30pm every day worked very well until population increased just recently.
Increase in human accessibility has complicated the issue of water distribution.
Set timing for accessing water resource is not complied with, jeopardising an established understanding.
Moreover, the underlying implication for such issue lies initially on planning.
In this case, the capacity to access limited resources was not considered above monetary gains, which resulted in conflicting ideals.
Should those who vie for authority over common resources stick to proper management principles that had been in existence over time, then such nuisance of fighting over common resources would not have escalated, leaving unfortunate casualties.