KUALA LUMPUR: A comprehensive and integrated flood mitigation master plan needs to be implemented by the government to avoid similar flood incident to reoccur in the future.
The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) president Dr Tan Yean Chin said the implementation of the plan should be done to cater for the development planning in the affected states, both Penang and Kedah.
“The Irrigation and Drainage Department has implemented some of the flood mitigation measures in both states to alleviate the flood problems and further efforts are on-going to further improve the situation.
“More allocations are needed in view of the current dire situation so that the problems can be solved as an integrated and comprehensive manner.
“Non-structural measures are also important to improve the situation such as flood forecasting and warning system for all major river basins, relocation of people from flood prone areas and land use control,” said Tan in a statement today.
He said the master plan should include the flood mitigation and prevention action plans, for current and future developments, land use changes as well as climatic change factor.
Tan said the combination of heavy rainfall, capacity of most river systems and drain systems which were less than 100-year Average Recurrence Interval (ARI) in both states, tide level which was close to Highest Astronomical tide which prevented flood flows from discharging effectively into ocean and with the strong winds, strong surge which generated the river and drainage outlets, had caused the flood runoff to not be discharged effective to the sea.
Besides the master plan, Tan said developers also have a major role to play in ensuring their development projects comply with the Mesra Alam Malaysia manual (MSMA) where it had emphasised on source control.
Another factor which should be taken into consideration to be added in the flood mitigation measures was the focus on climate change situation where many locations in the country were experiencing extraordinary heavy rainfall and many have also exceeded the 100-year ARI, Tan said.
“The very prominent events which have exceeded the 100-year ARI are the severe flooding at the Johor state during the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007 as well as the end of 2014 floods at Kelantan and Pahang states,” he said.
Tan added that IEM through its Water Resources Technical Division was willing to assist the authorities to provide the necessary technical advice on flood mitigation and prevention measures including creating public awareness on flood related issues.
The heavy rain which lasted more than 17 hours since Friday afternoon worsened the situation in most areas, causing water to rise quickly and crippled several areas in Georgetown and Seberang Perai.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) earlier said the extraordinary amount of continuous rainfall in Penang and parts of Kedah was caused by a low pressure area in the two states.
This had attracted strong winds and moisture which resulted in heavy rain that led the department to issue a Red Alert warning in the two states on Saturday night.
However, MMA had now reduced the category of heavy rain to Orange Alert from yesterday’s Red Alert for Perlis, Perak, Kedah and Penang because of weakened low pressure area.