Kuching records over 200mm rainfall

KUCHING: The rainfall stations here have recorded heavy downpour of more than 200mm in less than 12 hours since late Thursday’s night.

State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director Datuk Chok Moi Soon said from midnight until 10am on Friday (Feb 19), the rain was indeed very heavy which subsequently caused flash floods in several areas in Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Lundu and Serian districts.

On claims that such situation exists due to poor drainage system, he explained that the department’s drainage system was only designed for certain amount of rainfall.

“You can’t really build a very big drain in front of your house just to cater for the rainfall. They have to be designed for certain rainfall. Normally they will be designed for five or 10 years type of rainfall.

“Kuching is actually developing very fast with a lot of housing projects coming up. When you have a lot of housing areas, you’re just draining all the water down to the lower areas that can store the runoff.

“But because when you want to develop, you fill up all the low-lying areas which means, the water storage on land will also be gone. Therefore, the water has to go to the river.

“So when all this water go to the river, the river water level will rise up very fast which could cause an overspill,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Friday (Feb 19).

However, he did not deny that there are also some old drainage systems in the existing housing areas which were not properly designed and encountering undersize, bottleneck or internal issues which may contribute to the water woes.

Chok said the department has put up a lot of proposals at the state and federal levels in efforts to improve drainage system in flash flood-prone areas in the state.

“At the federal level, the proposed projects are still under design such as Sarawak General Hospital, the federal quarters, Sungai Tabuan, SK Muara Tuang and Taman Malihah.

“It is likely that these projects will be tendered out in one package by end of this year,” he disclosed.

He further said DID has submitted some of the projects to the state government to be proposed under the 12th Malaysia Plan and are still pending approval before they can move into designing process. Some of the projects are at Laksamana Cheng Ho Road and Bampfylde Road.