By A. Jeyaraj
It was reported in Streets Northern (February 22) that a new Smart Flood Warning System was installed on one bank of Sungai Pari. I have been living in Pari Garden for more than 20 years and a flood warning siren would come on when the water level in the river reached the bottom of the bridge along Jalan Raja. During the rainy season the siren came on often. The new system may be more sophisticated, but the old system worked well.
Recently, a scale was installed on the opposite bank of the siren. There were markings on the scale, but no indication as to which water level was the signal for precaution to be taken. Anyway, during flooding, residents are not going to look at the scale.
Meanwhile, when the siren comes on, the level of the water in the river is not high enough to cause massive flooding. The low deck bridge is the problem, blocking the flow of water with the water level rising upstream of the bridge. During the major flooding a couple of years ago, the river overflowed the bund at the junction of the bridge. Downstream of the bridge, the water was at a lower level.
It was identified that one of the causes of flooding was low deck bridges which block the flow of water and they must be upgraded. So far only one bridge along Jalan Menteri in Kampung Manjoi has been upgraded.
What the residents want is a flood mitigation project to stop flooding; not a warning of imminent flooding. Under the heading “150 flood evacuees return home” (NST Feb 22, 2012) it was reported that Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, Exco for Local Government said that the state government would wait for a detailed report on the floods. It is two years now and there is no sign of any official report on the causes of flooding.
Residents in flood prone areas do not want to live in fear of flooding. Instead of installing warning systems, carry out proper flood mitigation projects so that residents can live in peace.