Properly Functioning Flood Gates and Pumps Crucial in Mitigating Flash Floods

By CHAN FOONG HIN
This morning I visited Likas flood gate and pump house. It was built and operated by Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) since 1988, and which function is to drain flood waters away from the Likas basin. The flood gate keeps waters out during high tide. The pump house pumps flood water out into the Likas lagoon.

Yesterday flash flood has hit Likas area. Many sections of Jalan Tuaran, Jalan Teluk Likas and Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens main roads were reported flooded, with motorists stuck in jams that built up after office hours.

Most residents affected by the flash floods in this area, said such floods were never seen in their locality before.

Even though heavy downpour occurred during high tide could be the reason which contributed to the recent flash flood, it could have been mitigated with a properly functioning floodgate and pump.

As such, DID has to confirm if the floodgate and pump in Likas had been properly maintained and were properly functioning during the floods. Can the DID confirm whether there are any issues of overcapacity as far as flood mitigation is concerned, and would they agree that additional pumps or upgrades are required to compliment this 35 year old facility so as to properly mitigate flood? What were the fundings related to Likas basin under Kota Kinabalu City Drainage Masterplan Study, and are they sufficient for the purposes of flood mitigation?

Besides Likas, another area badly hit by the flash flood is the Kolombong area. Even though it’s not part of my constituency, many of KK constituents have been operating businesses there for decades. Kolombong is important to the state capital’s GDP as it is an established light industrial zone.

I had visited a few factories there this morning. They said water level had risen up to knee and only receded slowly around 11.30pm last night. According to them, this is the most severe flash flood encountered up to date, not to mention the losses incurred.

The business community there strongly asked for implementation of tidal-control strategies in the area to minimise the incidence of flash flood there, just like what Likas has.

Besides that, they also recommend that the authorities should weigh up whether the capacity of the existing drains there is sufficient.

I hereby urge the authorities, especially DID, to listen to the people and come up with proper plans and allocate sufficient funds for flood mitigation.