By John Isaac
A MAJOR concern often raised during flash floods in Kuching is the operation of the barrage (an artificial barrier to prevent flooding).
Recently, Dr Kelvin Yii, the Bandar Kuching MP and Violet Yong (Pending ADUN) visited the Sungai Sarawak Regulation Scheme (SSRS) that is currently managed by Kuching Barrage Management Sdn Bhd to better understand the operations of the barrage especially in connection to flood mitigation in Kuching.
The past few days, due to heavy downpour and different other factors, many parts of Kuching were submerged in water including locations that have not experienced flash floods for the past 10 to 20 years.
According to Dr Kelvin, one of the concerns often raised especially during such flash floods is the operations of the barrage.
“So we believe it is important to better understand the whole operations and to make sure it is functioning as it is supposed to be.
“We are grateful to the person in charge and the staff that were very helpful in explaining to us their operations, SOPs and when they make decisions whether to close or open the barrage,” he said.
When there is high tide, they have to close the barrage in order to prevent inflow of water from the sea.
We were informed that if they do not do that, the floods in Kuching may be worse due to the inflow of water into the city from the sea.
To make such decisions, they receive daily weather report from the Malaysian Meteorological Department.
Real-time water and rainfall data is collected by the telemetry system and based on computational model of the Sarawak River.
“The predicted discharge and water level are the two main factors in deciding when to operate the barrage gates,” explained Dr Kelvin.
“With better understanding of the operations, we can explain better to our constituents and also better monitor the operations of the barrage for the good of the people.
“While it alone cannot solve all the problems of the flash floods, but with good operations, we hope it can at least mitigate some of the flooding problems we face in Kuching”.