KUALA LUMPUR: Flash floods, which have posed a perennial problem for city-dwellers, look set to get addressed seriously, with a study initiated to find a long-term solution to the issue.
A two-pronged approach is on the cards, with Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) embarking on a year-long study on Kuala Lumpur's overall drainage system while Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) implements 14 interim measures under the KL Flash Floods Mitigation Action Plan 2022.
KL Mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah said Ikram, appointed last month, would prepare, among others, an inventory of the existing drains in Kuala Lumpur.
A progress report will be filed every three months before the study is concluded next year.
"Many drains here are as old as DBKL itself and can no longer accommodate the ever-expanding townships and increasing density. Through this study, we hope to find permanent solutions," he told reporters at the DBKL headquarters today.
He said at the same time, DBKL will carry out immediate measures to reduce the severity of flash floods and prevent losses and damage to properties.
Most of the measures, he said, involve stepping up basic operations including daily cleaning and removal of obstructions like garbage and tree roots from rivers and drains, de-silting flood retention ponds (Hotspots 16, 17 and 18), ensuring proper maintenance of On-site Detention (OSD) tanks, as well as mobilising traffic wardens to guide motorists and disperse traffic at roads inundated with flood waters.
Other measures include upgrading scupper drains; building new sumps to facilitate smoother water flow in drains; mobilising machinery and staff at flood-prone areas (Hotspots 5, 6,10, 12, 18, 20 and 25); identifying and opening temporary traffic diversions avoid inundated areas; and placing 2,000 sand bags at low-land areas near rivers temporarily while flood walls are built.
Water-absorbent Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) will also be used in road resurfacing and public areas.
He said more frequent checks on drains would be conducted to prevent clogging from garbage, wild plants and tree components, which have also contributed to flash floods in some areas.
"We are carrying out 'plogging', a combination of leisure through jogging and picking up waste during activities. This is in line with 'Kempen Cuci KL' and we hope everyone will work together towards a cleaner city.
"Many have expressed their interest to participate in plogging, carried out twice a week involving NGOs, schools, private sector and residents."
He said DBKL has also identified litter-free zones, namely Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Raja, Brickfields' Little India, and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, with a RM500 compound awaiting litterbugs.
He said the measures would also utilise weather forecasts by the Malaysian Meteorological Department, with text alerts sent out to city folk during downpours starting from the end of May.
Meanwhile, those with the MOBIS DBKL app would start receiving flash flood alerts from tomorrow (Tuesday).
Mahadi hoped that the interim measures, as well as the study by Ikram, would help bring an end to the long-standing problem.
"After a series of flash floods even after carrying various measures, it was back to the drawing board for us. We have to step up our efforts to improve the drainage and reduce the suffering of city dwellers.
"We really hope to solve this problem with the cooperation of various agencies, non-governmental organisations, private sector and the community."