Tuesday, March 19

Barrage stops king tide from inundating city


All six gates of the Kuching Barrage closed at 2pm yesterday to prevent the inflow of king tides from flowing upstream.

A staff of the Kuching Barrage (left) pressed a button to open the six gates of the barrage to flush water from upstream at 6.30 pm yesterday.

The marker indicated the height of the water at 10.2 metres at the barrage just before the gates were opened at 6.30pm yesterday.

KUCHING: The Kuching Barrage has once again saved Kuching from flooding yesterday especially in low lying areas due to the effects of the current king tides, disclosed Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) controller William Jinep.

And Kuching is expected to be spared from further flood as the metrological department has forecasted that there would be no heavy downpour except for intermittent rain with occasionally moderate condition.

“The barrage has been vital in mitigating flood in Kuching area in the last few days. Just imagine if it’s not for the barrage, some areas in Kuching would have been flooded today due to the effects of the current king tide,”
Jinep told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He added that as long as there was no heavy downpour upriver especially at the catchment areas of the Sarawak River, the barrage would be able to ‘handle’ the king tides which is expected to last until Jan 26.

However, he cautioned that if it rained heavily on Jan 22 (Thursday) and Jan 23 (Friday) when the king tides were expected to reach the maximum height of 10.9 metres at the barrage at 8pm on both days, then there was still high possibility of flooding upstream.

Meanwhile, the general manager of the Kuching Barrage Captain Goh Chin Guan disclosed that all the six gates of the barrage were closed yesterday at 2pm to prevent the king tide from flowing upstream. The gates were later opened at 6.30pm when the tides turned.

Goh added that the barrage had been able to monitor flood upstream through its state-of-the-art telemetry system that could detect high water levels at 24 locations at the upper reaches of the Sarawak River as far as Padawan, Penrissen and Bau.

“Our job at the barrage is to monitor and to ensure that the (six) gates are sufficiently operated to ensure that the tidal inflow of water will not reach the city,” he stressed.

He explained that his job would be very stressful especially during heavy downpour coupled with the occurrence of king tides.

“The timing of when to close and open the six gates is vital to ensure that the barrage play its part to the maximum, that is, to mitigate flood in Kuching area especially at the Kuching Waterfront,” he explained.

Goh added that the barrage had been crucial in the prevention of floods in Kuching in the last 16 years since it began operating in 1998. The barrage was built at a cost of RM230 million.