Flashfloods hit Penang


Penang was hit by flashfloods this morning following a heavy downpour and high tide. Once again, this raises questions about the model of development across the country.

Photograph: Penang Time  facebook
Photograph: Penang Time facebook

More photographs here.

The car park of an apartment near USM was yet again flooded, with water entering many cars. The roads around the state mosque as well as Jalan P Ramlee were also under water.

When will we see the last of these floods? - Photograph: mudzill vis Instagram
When will we see the last of these floods? – Photograph: mudzill via Instagram

According to a press statement from the Chief Minister:

Mengikut laporan daripada Jabatan Pengairan dan Saliran, volume air hujan turun dalam masa yang singkat ini ialah 85mm di Sungai Pinang, 90mm di Kolam Dondang, 107mm di Lorong Batu Lanchang, di Jln Scotland 83mm, di Kolam Air Hitam ialah 114mm, di Bukit Bendera 168mm, 83mm di Jalan P. Ramlee dan 141mm di Sungai Air Terjun. Hujan sekitar 60mm dikira lebat.

Sungguhpun air hujan sudah henti, keadaan banjir bertambah buruk di kelima-lima sungai kecil yang mengalir ke Sungai Pinang kerana air laut yang pasang. Keadaan hujan lebat dan air laut yang pasang secara serentak memburukkan lagi keadaan banjir kilat kerana air tidak dapat alir keluar. Untuk makluman, air laut pasang yang paling tinggi adalah pada 10 pagi pada tahap 3.26 meter dan sekarang sudah mulai surut bersama dengan air hujan.

As more roads are constructed and widened, as hills are cut for property development, as the urban concrete jungle spreads leaving precious little green cover, there is little porous ground for rainwater to be absorbed into the earth. What will happen to all this surface run-off when the full impact of climate change hits us in the coming years?

Has your area been flooded? Do you think our property-centric model of development, which leaves behind very little green cover, is at fault?

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 Apr 2013 5.59pm

Ah Soon Ghor – please do a simple calculation as to the gross volume of rainfall on that day and tell us how big the detention tanks are required assuming some are discharged into the sea and some are soak into the ground or caught in the leaves etc. If it flood – who is to blame? Owners because Alam Mesra was implemented when Gerakan is in power but did they ask owners to pay extra for the detention system? Further how much water can seep into residual soil? Further if USA can do it, then the US Army Corp… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
Ong Eu Soon
10 Apr 2013 9.14am
Reply to  kingkong

After spending nearly rm2 billion on building detention ponds, widening and deepening rivers, how many billions need to be spend? Isn’t this insanity, knowing that the solutions are not workable still insist to carry on? Spending another billion and the flood will go way voluntary? Not only the solution is inefficient, it actually make the situation more worse. It only contribute to faster flash flood especially when heavy downpour meet high tide. No rubbish did not equal to flash flood. But to your King Kong’s brain, rubbish=flash flood. To me no rubbish=falsh flood. ???????? Faster flow too smooth no obtruction=flash… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
Ong Eu Soon
10 Apr 2013 9.16am
Reply to  kingkong

Guan Eng want a clean and green Penang, where is his vision for a green infrastructure that helop eliminate flash flood? All he opt for is pure grey infrastructures that cost a bomb. Bilion nad more billion and more billion. When is this gonna stop?

Ong Eu Soon
Ong Eu Soon
10 Apr 2013 9.32am
Reply to  kingkong

What make you think that with the last reminding RM100million allocation the flash flood will go way. RM1.9billion can’t do any thing , yourRM0.1billion is a miracle solution waiting to be deployed? Corruption and stupidity = no diffirent.

8 Apr 2013 1.19am

The Romans done it (underground water channeling), the Babylonians down it but we still cannot/unwilling to do it. B’cos it doesn’t costs billions for it to be another Satu Lagi Projek.
Water harvesting technology is one of the solutions to overcome flooding in cities with little greens or porous open land. Vertical gardening is another complementing solution to use free rain water harvested instead of letting it wastefully floods our cities.
Unless we deride it as not Cosmopolitan!

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 9.54pm

Lim Guan Eng worked with DID to solve our flash flood problem by widening and deepening the rivers. The DID also built retention pond to store rainwater and subsequently discharge it into the drain. Both methods are expensive in nature and not sustainable. To eliminate storm-water runoff you need to get rid of it at the source. The only way to do it is to infiltrate the storm-water vertically into the ground using underground injection wells. If I am to design a solution for flash flood, I will use underground storm-water chamber as an alternative to conventional drainage system for… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 8.17pm

Stormwater BMP & LID Maintenance
Stormwater BMP and LID Maintenance: A Guide to Proper Maintenance Practices for Local Government Staff and Landscapers, discusses routine maintenance of LID-type stormwater management practices and key things to look for to make sure that your BMP is operating as designed. The video also identifies commonly encountered maintenance problems and offers potential solutions for remediating them.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 8.08pm

Green Infrastructure (GI) is an approach to land use that emphasises multifunctional and connected spaces, underpinned by the recognition that many benefits are generated by natural ecosystems.

Invest in Green Infrastructure is produced by the Landscape Institute – UK. It is aimed at inspiring local decision-makers and communities to make the most of their land, while helping wildlife to flourish, reducing flood risk, providing green open space for all, and delivering a wide range of economic, health and community benefits.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.48pm

Alll the solutions listed above will not cost you billion in ringgit. They are sustainable green solution. No exorbitant cost needed, no opportunities for big time corruption.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.45pm

Underground Stormwater Harvesting Project suitable for open space car park.
Ivanhoe Grammar Girls’ School seized the opportunity to include stormwater re-use initiatives in recent capital works. The storage created using ecoAID’s Private Aquifer system is located under an area designated for recreational use. There were no ‘space-gobbling’ above-ground tanks in the decision makers’ vision of a sustainable water solution at this prestigious school.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.42pm

Underground Stormwater Detention and Treatment Project in Western Australia Installed over 3 days, this 200,000 litre stormwater detention system provides treatment of the fine silt and sediment fractions not removed by the Gross Pollutant Trap upstream. EcoAid’s superior lateral flow distribution capabilities were fully utilised with relatively high peak inflows on site. A recycled concrete and brick drainage material was used in place of virgin crushed rock, further reducing the systems already low CO2 footprint in comparison to concrete and steel storage systems. EC-1000 arches have been load tested with recycled aggregates and concrete products. With EcoAID being made in… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.38pm

Smart Drain – New Non-Clogging Drainage Material
http://www.smartdrain.com – Smart Drain is a revolutionary non-clogging drainage material. It uses capillary and siphon actions to effectively separate water and soil without ever clogging.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.34pm

This solution is used to direct stormwater into underground not to the sea
Deep Underground Injection Wells to Infiltrate Stormwater and Stabilize a Ravine

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.28pm

Integrated System for Reuse and Runoff Reduction
New stormwater regulations require on-site water management, which can be a design challenge. Rainwater Harvesting is a Low Impact Development tool that can achieve both runoff reduction and water conservation. Learn more about the UrbanGreen Rainwater Harvesting System at http://www.conteches.com/Products/Stormwater-Management/Rainwater-Harvesting.aspx


Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.24pm

Stormwater solution for landed properties How to Choose the Right Landscape Drainage System: Stormwater Runoff Solutions Protecting your home from rain water and runoff is a high priority. If proper water drainage is not installed, then stormwater runoff can puddle near downspouts, in your yard, flower beds or other planting areas – causing damage to your home structure. In this video we show various homeowner’s options for properly managing runoff water using our full line of drainage products: catch basins, channel drains, flow-wells, and pop-up emitters. For more information on these and other NDS products, please visit us at: http://www.ndspro.com/drainage-system…… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.16pm

Stormwater runoff control on hill slope
This video shows the installation of SlopeGrid to create a swale on a mountain roadside to help control water runoff.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.09pm

Advanced Storm Water Treatment System: Modular Wetlands
This advanced storm water biofiltration system provides high level removal of TSS, nutrients, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, oils & grease, bacteria, BOD, COD, turbidity, trash & debris and other compounds that pollute the nations streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. The system incorporates 4 stages of treatment, including screening, hydrodynamic separation, media filtration BioMediaGREEN, and sorptive biofiltration. The system also provides internal high flow bypass and multi-level flow control.


Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 7.04pm

Optimizing the Design of a Rainwater Harvesting System to Maximize Runoff Reduction in Low to Moderate Climates.

How to decide which Stormwater Solution is right for your site

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 6.52pm

This short video discusses current stormwater management practices and shows how Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement (PICP) can be used as part of an effective sustainable, low impact development response to today’s stormwater management problem.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 6.46pm

What are Silva Cells, and how do they work?
The Silva Cell is a modular framework for creating underground rain gardens in heavily paves areas like streets, parking lots, and plazas. Use Silva Cells to grow mature trees, increase your urban canopy, and manage stormwater on-site.

Find out more: http://www.deeproot.com/silvacell

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 1.00pm

Chicago’s experience with its Green Alleys programs has shown that investing in permeable pavements, downspout disconnection, rain barrels, and tree planting are estimated to be 3 to 6 times more effective in managing stormwater per $1,000 invested than conventional methods.” http://www.ccap.org/index.php?component=news&id=402 The City of Portland, Oregon has integrated green and gray approaches to stormwater management in its CSO (combined sewer overflow) abatement program. A cost-effectiveness analysis….demonstrated that downspout disconnections, curb extensions that include vegetated swales, and parking lot infiltration were among the most cost-effective options (including conventional) for meeting CSO abatement goals. The costs for these approaches ranged from $0.89… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 1.18pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

read about chicago’s green alleys programs at http://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/city/depts/cdot/Green_Alley_Handbook_2010.pdf
See how it solve stormwater runoff.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 12.46pm

Seattle spent $55 million for it’s “Gray to Green” initiative to manage stormwater more sustainably where as Guan Eng spent RM980million on Sungai Pinang for nothing.
Read about how to manage polluted runoff six times better at http://daily.sightline.org/2013/04/02/seattles-green-stormwater-goals/

This is the proper way to solve flash flood in a sustainable way! Not the BN’s exorbitant costly solution that Guan Eng love the most.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 6.01pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Let me tell you a story about Seattle after it manage to process 700 million gallons of stormwater runoff. The local government decided to remove the dams on Columbia River for salmon. The same go to Klamath River Dams when the local governments of Oregon and California realised that they no longer depend on dams to provide them clean water.

7 Apr 2013 12.20pm

Who do you suggest we vote in then? You said it yourself that the previous govt is lousy, has bad policies and you also said the current govt is also lousy. Is there another party I can try? For the moment i only see two parties, PR and BN. You are telling me not to vote PR because they are lousy, then u also tell me not to vote BN because they too were a lousy govt. Both are bad then how to vote? Or maybe u feel that both are bad but one is worse than the other. So… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 5.13pm
Reply to  Kevin

Always vote against the one in power when it can’t deliver. That is what 2 party system is all about. I hate both! But I will vote against the one in power until they finally learn.

7 Apr 2013 10.15pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

So what about the federal govt? Are u saying that this time we vote in BN for state and PR for federal? You said to vote against the one in power if it can’t deliver right? , You said BN’s plans and policies are lousy right? And they are the current fed govt. So should we vote against BN at the federal level? I am just asking for your opinion on this issue.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 11.33pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

yes. state vote BN, federal vote PR. have a change not the same! PR will have a bigger gain. What a bargain!

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 5.22pm
Reply to  Kevin

Why reward the one that fail? Why allow the bad practices to go on with impunity? What you practice is not 2 party system. You are all out to get rid of one party and allow another one to continue the abuse of power. My ancestor teach me to (punish) if it can make the rest happy. My ancestor also teach me to reward if it can make the rest happy. That is the way to minimise punishment and reward when manage a group of people.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 12.12pm

Read my article on Flood Mitigation: What go wrong at http://eusoon.blogspot.com/2008/12/flood-mitigation-what-went-wrong.html

Read my flood mitigation solution at

If the state government is intelligent enough it will not have to bear the mistake of BN on flood mitigation. I still like to reiterate thsi: when you ever found that BN’s flood mitigation solutions are workable? Stupid for trying desperately to be BN and out do BN to be BN.

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 12.04pm

On 20 Nov 2008, I wrote the following: When Penang encountered flash floods over the past few months, he simply magically produced the Penang flood mitigation projects of Koh Tsu Koon but without realising it was designed for Barisan cronies and would not solve the flooding problem on a long-term basis. The whole problem of this RM970 million solution is that its ignores the management of storm water runoff and is too costly to implement. I can implement a complete flood mitigation solution for the whole of Penang with just RM100 million and make a huge profit out of it.… Read more »

7 Apr 2013 11.56am

Gerakan/UMNO has DID to come up with the MESRA to cope the the extra runoff. The detention system is supposed to store the excess runoff caused by the developement on site and slowly release them.
Sinkapore is like Penang – more properous and has many highways and tunnels for the MRT. What say you? Sinkapore sinking? Yes by climate change due to China’s more than 10% GPD for the past decade.

7 Apr 2013 11.06am

It is intriguing that “Ong Eu Soon” comment about the cause of flash flood, but evasive on exact authority that take part of the flood control. It is common “blame one side”, but let us write down the checklist on each responsibilities : – Drainage clean up (municipal councils worker: fed. monitor by local council member :state) – Drainage /river widening (Fed. ) – Policies to install rain water catchment to slow down rain overflow that cause flash flood (Fed, none in place) Nevertheless, Penang state government should do better by pushing policy that encourage installation of water catchment in… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
7 Apr 2013 1.31pm
Reply to  moot

when Guan Eng claimed credit did he also attribute it to the fed government, BN, DID? He so happy to enjoy the credit by himself alone!