Sunday, September 25

DID hopes state govt will adopt SUStoM to mitigate floods

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KUCHING: The Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) hopes that the introduction of Sarawak Urban Storm Water Management Manual (SUStoM) to ensure sustainable urban development will be approved soon by the state government.

SUStoM is a guideline for developers when opening up urban areas for both residential and commercial purposes. Under the manual, urban developers will be required to make provision for water storage such as the creation of ponds or tanks to manage storm water in their project areas.

“With the introduction of SUStoM, we will be able to better monitor and manage the drainage system of development projects in urban areas. This will help to minimise flash flood such as the recent occurrence in Kuching,” state DID director Chok Moi Soon told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He explained that Urban Storm Water Management (MSMA) was introduced nationwide in 2001 in Peninsular Malaysia but SUStoM is a local version which was recently brought up in the state cabinet.

“After the recent flood in Kuching, we see the need to implement SUStoM as soon as possible to allow proper and efficient management of storm water and to minimise future flash floods.”

Following the flash floods on Saturday, he said DID would review some of the existing drainage systems and improve some of the drainage bottleneck stretches in Kuching.

“After the recent flash flood, there is a need for us to re-look into our existing drainage system. We have submitted proposals to look into some bottleneck areas.”

He said the drainage system of Batu Lintang Road, Green Road, Rock Road and Tun Abang Haji Openg Road (where Sarawak General Hospital is situated) were one of the drainage bottleneck areas which DID had to re-look into.

On SUStoM, Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, when contacted, said the manual had not been finalised yet and a final deliberation would be carried out on Mar 15.

“The one quoted by DID director is not finalised. It is just recommendation. I will issue a press statement after the meeting on Mar 15,” said Abang Johari, who is also Tourism Minister and Satok assemblyman.

Meanwhile, on the many ‘expert opinions’ offered on social media on Kuching’s flash flood on Saturday, Chok cautioned that some of the opinions might not be valid.

He said the recent flash flood could not have been caused by deforestation as there was no more forest in the urban areas.

“Some also blamed it on the Kuching Sewerage System. The recent flood has nothing to do with the sewerage system. As Datuk Amar (Abang Johari) had said in the press conference, the main reason was that the city’s current drainage system could only hold up to 180 mm of rainfall. It was also due to drainage maintenance and blockage,” said Chok.