Sarawak’s flood mitigation plan must be amended to include higher rainfall due to climate change, says Deputy Premier

Dr Sim (right) chatting with displaced flood victims at Kampung Sinar Budi evacuation centre (PPS) in Batu Kawah on March 18, 2023. Photo: Dr Sim Kui Hian Facebook page

KUCHING, March 19: The drainage and flood mitigation plan to resolve flash flood problems in Sarawak’s urban areas must be amended to include the drastic increase of rainfall due to climate change, says Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He said this year, the amount of rainfall recorded in Kuching was 20 per cent higher than the previous record.

“This means, when planning for drainage in 2023, (we) must take into consideration of (the) 20 per cent of (rain water),” he said in a Facebook post today.

Dr Sim further said although flood mitigation falls under Concurrent List of the Federal Constitution, Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has indicated that Sarawak can no longer be dependent on federal funding that it desperately needs, adding that the previous estimates during pre-Covid time was around RM4 to RM5 billion for Kuching alone.

“Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) Sarawak needs to simulate (sic) the extra amount of rainfall due to climate change as it is not acceptable just to implement the previous masterplan.

“Apart from adaptation due to climate change which is here to stay, we also need more nature-based solutions rather than just concrete flood mitigation structures,” he added.

Yesterday, Abang Johari during a function in Kuching, pointed out that the Sarawak government is currently conducting a comprehensive study on the drainage system in the region to resolve urban flash floods.

However, he stressed that the implementation of the long-term masterplan would take about five to 10 years to complete and that the project would require a large amount of funds. — DayakDaily