PM: Government to divert water to reduce floods in KL

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PUTRAJAYA: The government is building “smart” tunnels that can quickly channel water away from flood-prone areas in Kuala Lumpur as part of efforts to reduce flash floods. 

The project has started with the construction of such tunnels near the RMAF airport in Sungai Besi, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.  

“We know the problem. We must spend a lot of money to dig the rivers again to deepen them and there is a lot more that we have to do to overcome this problem,” Bernama quoted him as telling reporters after chairing the meeting of mentris besar and chief ministers here yesterday. Several Cabinet ministers also attended the meeting. 

Dr Mahathir was asked about the government’s long-term plans to overcome the problem of flash floods after several areas in Kuala Lumpur were inundated following a three-hour downpour on Tuesday.  

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, when approached by The Star to elaborate on the scheme, said the construction of the tunnels was to minimise the volume of water runoffs into the Klang River during heavy rain. 

The tunnels would drain access rain water from several parts of the city to a lake at the Desa Waterpark off the Seremban Highway, he told SA’ODAH ELIAS. 

INSIDE THE DATARAN CAR PARK: Several members of a rescue team using a dinghy to search for victims in the flooded basement car park of the Plaza Putra at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The team search through 58 vehicles, in waist-deep, but found no bodies.

He said the tunnels would have a mechanism whereby water flow could be controlled mechanically. Whenever the water in the Klang River reached a certain level, the water from the tunnel would be diverted to the lake. 

He said the lake was big and deep enough to act as a holding pond for excess rainfall, adding that the water from the lake would only be released once the water in the Klang River had dropped to a safe level. 

Tengku Adnan said that apart from smart tunnels, the building of ponds and bunds were among the measures being proposed to curb flash floods. 

These measures were contained in a Cabinet paper being prepared on Tuesday’s flash floods, detailing the cause of the incident and proposals to prevent a recurrence.  

“We will also propose that the bunds along low-lying areas like Kampung Baru and Kampung Periok be increased, besides continuing with the widening and deepening of the Klang, Gombak, Batu and Kerayong Rivers. 

Tengku Adnan said the Cabinet paper, which was being drawn up by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, would be completed at the end of next week and tabled at the next weekly Cabinet meeting. 

On Tuesday’s downpour, he said that based on the telemetry report collected from 11 stations, the total rainfall recorded within two hours after the rain started at 4pm was 971mm. 

The highest rainfall of 136mm was recorded at Simpang Tiga in Gombak. 

The deluge of rainwater caused water levels at all the rivers to rise rapidly and by 7pm, water levels at all major rivers had exceeded the danger level by between 1m and 2m. 

Tengku Adnan said the sirens along Jalan Dang Wangi, Jalan Munshi Abdullah and Jalan Gereja were triggered at 5pm when the flash floods hit those parts of the city.  

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