Saturday, April 1

Dr Sim: Drainage and flood mitigation plan needs adjustment to include extra rainfall due to climate change

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Dr Sim (second right) speaking to flood victims at the flood relief centre.

KUCHING (March): The current drainage and flood mitigation plan needs to be adjusted to include additional rainfall due to climate change, said Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Dr Sim, who is Local Government and Housing Minister, said the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) Sarawak needs to simulate the extra amount of rainfall due to climate change as it is not acceptable to just implement the previous masterplan.

“This year, the amount of rainfall in Kuching (is) already 20 per cent higher than the previous ever recorded. (This) Means when plan for drainage in 2023, must take into consideration of extra 20 per cent of water,” he said in a Facebook post today.

His Facebook post was accompanied by pictures of him visiting the flood victims who were evacuated to the temporary flood relief centres at Dewan Kampung Sinar Budi Baru and Dewan Stapok in Batu Kawa.

Dr Sim agreed with the request by Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg during a press conference after officiating at the state-level Women’s Day 2023 celebration yesterday, for the drainage and flood mitigation plan to account for the additional rainfall.

“Though flood mitigation is under concurrent list (50 per cent federal, 50 per cent state), the premier had indicated that we no longer can (be) dependent on federal funding which we need as soon as possible. Previous estimates (pre Covid-19) was about $(RM)4-5 billion for Kuching alone.”

Apart from adaptation due to climate change which is here to stay, Dr Sim opined that more nature-based solutions are needed instead of just concrete flood mitigation structures.

Yesterday, Abang Johari said that a standard drainage masterplan is needed to tackle flash flooding in urban areas, and a study on the drainage system required funds in the billions.

The study will also need to be done in stages, and has a continuity as the state depends on federal government grant, which is given on ad hoc basis, he added.

Abang Johari also asked Dr Sim to use the Swedish consultant that Singapore had used to design its good drainage system.