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Moonsoon drain repairs not moving fast enough
Published on: Friday, January 14, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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The progress of the work in the last quarter of 2021 is seen in this drone photo.
The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) is trying to expedite repairs to a monsoon drain which services several Penampang neighbourhoods, including Taman Millennium Heights, Golf Garden and Taman Golf View.

A DID spokeswoman said it was in discussion with the appointed contractor on how to speed up this work.

“We intend to remove the sheet-piles and perform back-sealing at some sections of the drain, before capping off the rehabilitation effort on the drain,” she said.  

“How quickly the contractor gets through with this will depend on how long the present hot weather prevails.” 

The spokeswoman was responding to a petition, signed by nine homeowners, about the drainage woes in Taman Golf View.

They said this stemmed from the partial damage to the monsoon drain nearby.

Lorong Golf View 5 was buried under water, when the monsoon drain overflowed after less than half an hour in November.

Consequently, when it rained heavily, the water inside had a tendency to overflow onto their housing road, according to them.

They acknowledged the DID’s action to rebuild the affected section of the drain but were unhappy with the lengthy process of the repairs.

The residents could not understand why the work still had not been completed, 10 months after it first got underway.

The flood-situation there had worsened, in the meantime, according to them. 

The run-off apparently infiltrated their homes during separate downpours in September and October.

They hoped that the DID would accord priority to finishing the reconstruction as soon as possible so that they wouldn’t have to live with the fear of the water coming indoors.

The spokeswoman admitted that its rebuilding efforts had moved by fits and starts for the most part of 2021. 

She said the progress of the repairs was “a bit slow” due to imposition of Movement Control Order and Covid-related restrictions.

“We also had to reckon with unexpected changes in the weather, including particularly intense rainfall,” she said.

“The pace of the work only picked up once the various industries opened up again at the end of October and early November.” 

SATVINDAR of Penampang bemoaned the damage to his property – including his two cars, the motor for his electric gate and furniture – which occurred as a result of the floods in the last quarter of 2021.

“I have been living in Taman Golf View Phase 2 for over 25 years. This is the first time that I have experienced such bad floods,” he said.

“I want some assurance from the Department that immediate action is being taken to resolve this problem. We have been suffering for the past year.”   

He and his neighbours had noticed that part of the monsoon drain there was being rebuilt.

However, he said, they were unhappy with the lethargic progress of this work.

Satvindar wondered whether maintenance, including deepening of the drain, was being performed while the reconstruction was underway.

“I understand that there are three excavators on site, with a staff on standby round the clock, to clear any earth which may clog the drain.

“If this were true, then the drain would not be overflowing and flooding my ‘Taman’ as there would be someone around to remove the debris from inside.”

He also wanted to know whether the agency would consider erecting a wall, or placing some kind of barrier, on top of the section of the drain closer to the neighbourhood.

A homeowner rushes to save her dustbin before it is swept away by the flood waters during a downpour in November.

“This might ensure that the water does not spill over from the structure into the ‘Taman’ while the rectification work is being carried out.

“A wall has been put up on the portion of the drain beside some condominiums in this area.”

Satvindar suspected that this wall might have some flood-mitigation purpose. 

“If this is really the case, then something similar may also help prevent the run-off from overflowing into Taman Golf View during a downpour.”

The spokeswoman explained that a camp had been set up at the site for the contractor’s workmen.

She said this was done to facilitate efforts to fashion a temporary crossing, as well as to periodically clear the drain.

Routine maintenance was performed on the drainage in the area and this was carried out on a quarterly basis, according to her.

“Budget limitations prevent us from going in more than this. 

“Unlike some government departments, we do not have any special funds which allow us to readily carry out emergency work.”

She also shot down the possibility of the structure being deepened.

“The most we can do is de-sludge the drain from time to time by removing the sediment and silt which settles at the base.”

On the possibility of putting up a wall on the side of the drain, the spokeswoman said this was not a feasible means of minimising the incidence of flash floods in the Taman Golf View.

“Erecting a wall of this kind would require some sort of pumping system to be set up specially for the residents.

“The run-off would not be effectively discharged into the nearest main drain otherwise. 

“The water would only collect inside the neighbourhood and make the flood situation worse.”

She said she was not aware of a wall being set up on the edge of the monsoon drain.

“We will have to verify the presence of this structure. If it does exist, we will have to determine what bearing, if any, it has on the drainage for this part of Penampang,” she said.

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