SIBU (Aug 26): The Department of Irrigation and Drainage’s (DID) riverbed survey work for sedimentary build-up along the Rajang and Igan rivers will begin next week and is expected to be completed within six months.
According to Dudong assemblyman Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, DID Sarawak director Ahmad Denney Ahmad Fauzi told him during a recent meeting that the department has appointed a company to carry out the river survey.
“The survey work also includes improving the Sibu flood drainage system, covering Sungai Rajang, Sungai Seduan, Sungai Salim, and their related tributaries,” Tiong added in a statement.
The Bintulu MP said the tributaries of the rivers have become much more stagnant due to a lack of regular maintenance.
“This worsened the flow of the river waters and raised the water levels to alarming levels parallel with the riverbanks,” he said.
He claimed dredging works done by the authorities have been too infrequent and limited in scope.
“All in all, a lot of sediment and waste is deposited at the river’s bottom, causing more blockages and taking away nature’s ability to smoothly drain excess rainwater to the rivers,” he said.
Tiong suggested the improvement and maintenance of drainage in each residential area should be placed under the purview of the DID, which must conduct a comprehensive study to aid future planning and upgrading of all mud drains to reinforced concrete drains, according to their natural gradient.
“Without this, many low-lying areas will be subject to more floods caused by excess rain,” he said.
With the problem of climate change gradually worsening, Tiong said it is vital to determine how current flood mitigation systems can manage.
“I urge the DID once again to introduce a robust and effective flood mitigation system, taking into account the sedimentation of the two main river beds. It is necessary to be precise in this issue to formulate a solution that treats both the symptoms and the root causes,” he added.
Ahmad Denney is expected to visit Sibu next month to inspect the state of the rivers by boat and conduct spot checks to prepare for the start of the riverbed survey project.