The Penang state government has said it needs RM970 million more from KL for flood mitigation projects to prevent flash floods.
It says it has identified seven more areas that require such projects and this would cost RM670 million. Another RM300 million would be needed for 50 water pump stations and five retention ponds.
Areas worst affected by floods are Jalan P Ramlee, Teluk Kumbar and Teluk Bahang on the island and kampongs near rivers on the mainland as well as Kampung Tok Suboh in Bukit Mertajam.
Activist Ong Eu Soon, however, says only a small fraction of that RM1 billion would be needed if the government were to opt for storm water management, which would involve building storm wells with filters in strategic locations. Check out his proposal, which he says uses the latest US technology.
This approach would focus on managing storm water run-off and constructing storm wells rather than the usual digging of deeper drains and the dredging and widening of rivers.
To this, I would add we need to also consider how we are rapidly turning the whole island and urban areas on the mainland into a concrete jungle. No wonder the rainwater has nowhere to go, if it cannot be absorbed into the ground. Even in our own houses, we have poured concrete over what used to be green lawns, which could have absorbed rainwater while elsewhere we have built more roads and car parks. More on this in a coming entry!
So if rainwater cannot be absorbed by the concrete on the ground, where can it go?
Are storm water wells, with filters, the solution or is there a more practical and effective alternative that tackles the problem at source? We probably need to undertake a comprehensive review of drainage in the state. How does Singapore do it?
Eu Soon’s proposal may or may not work. The point is I don’t think there has been enough debate, discussion, consultation and in-depth expert study on this or other alternative solutions.
What do you think?