(File pix) A view of Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang. To mitigate floods, the government should build dykes — a wall built to prevent water from sea or river from entering an area or a channel dug to drain water from an area. Pix by Shahnaz Fazlie Shahrizal

WE have to accept the fact that weather patterns have changed radically due to global warming in the last two decades.

As a result, in cold countries, it is colder, and in tropical countries, it is warmer or hotter. And, there are devastating rainstorms during the monsoon seasons.

Countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and southern China are not spared.

There is a need to embrace the change and look for ways to address it.

Measures taken to prevent floods in Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Kuantan (Pahang), Teluk Intan (Perak), Johor and Sabah have failed to keep the areas “dry” in stormy weathers.

That means the taxpayers’ monies spent to keep floods at bay has gone down the drain, time and again.

The widening and deepening of monsoon drains and rivers, as well as the construction of flood retention ponds in flood-prone areas do not help in draining floodwaters.

These measures are not effective in the face of “fierce” rainstorms hitting the nation today. They uproot trees, wash away cars and houses, and cause massive floods and landslides.

A lot of taxpayers’ monies is wasted in alleviating floods. It could be channelled to other community projects and services.

To mitigate floods, the government should build dykes — a wall built to prevent water from sea or river from entering an area or a channel dug to drain water from an area.

Although it will be costly, in the long run, it is a cheaper solution to resolve floods and prevent the loss of lives and property.

It is high time the government allocated funds to end flood woes.

Building dykes may be the only solution in states like Penang.

Let’s take a look at the Netherlands. One-third of its capital, Amsterdam, is below sea level, with the lowest point being 6.7m.

The city is kept from sinking via a system of dykes and windmills.

Flood control is an important
issue in the Netherlands as two-thirds of the country are prone to flooding. It is also one of the most densely populated nations in the world.

Natural sand dunes, manmade dykes, dams and floodgates protect the country against storms.

River dykes prevent water from major rivers like Rhine and Meuse from flowing into the country, while a complex system of drainage, ditches, canals and pumping stations (windmills) keep the low lands dry for habitation and agriculture.

The nation has one of the most sophisticated flood mitigation systems, and engineering expertise, in the world.

The bottom line is, although building dykes is costly, in the long term, savings from mitigation projects to address periodic flooding will help pay off the investment fast, say in five or 10 years.


LAU BING

Subang Jaya, Selangor

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