‘Creative’ drainage plan-A A +A
Monday, July 9, 2012
WHICH is better, firing off “creative” suggestions on solving the problem of flooding but never realizing these or presenting traditional drainage system solutions and also never realizing these? The first one is the Tomas Osmeña style and the second the Michael Rama style. As long as flooding continues to torment city residents, neither style is better.
Osmeña has a new idea on how to deal with flooding in Cebu City, this time supposedly with the help of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson (or is it the other way around?). “It’s a new system of addressing flooding. Using the main south highway, make a big hole and restore the road,” Osmeña was quoted by Sun.Star Cebu as saying.
The plan, which Osmeña said may be implemented in 2013, is to dig big water impounding holes or big box culverts below some roads. Rain water will then be directed into these culverts to be pumped out later. Osmeña said Singson already constructed such a hole in the old Fort Bonifacio area in Metro Manila. So it must be feasible.
Which is unlike the other “creative” method suggested by Osmeña when he was Cebu City mayor in 2007. Here’s the lead paragraph of a report written by then Sun.Star Cebu reporter Rene H. Martel in June of that year:
“Cebu City gets flooded easily because it has no rivers where rainwater could drain out. So Mayor Tomas Osmeña will make rivers out of streets to solve the problem. And he is not joking.”
“The problem with our drainage is that we have no rivers. Ang tubig mobalhin ra sa ubos. Low-lying areas get flooded. So we will make the road the river,” the report quoted him as saying.
Under that plan, the City was supposed to redesign the streets so that its middle portion would be recessed. There, a “big, single-culvert drainage line” would be placed. The center of the road will also have gaps through which the water could flow down to the culverts.
In Osmeña’s view at that time, it is better to have a street that becomes a river, with water dissipating in half an hour, than have flooded streets.
While Osmeña sounded serious when he presented the plan to reporters, he didn’t get to the implementation stage because his obsession at that time was not the delivery of basic services but selling the South Road Properties and quarreling with other local government officials. But had he been able to practice what he preached, how would the city streets have looked like now?
That wasn’t the only plan of Osmeña, of course. He also thought of building “retarding dams” in strategic parts of the upland areas that would catch rain water “and let this trickle to the coastal areas at a controlled pace and volume.” Nothing also happened with that.
Rama, on the other hand, has a more traditional approach, which is the drafting of a drainage master plan that would “consider many factors,” including the presence of illegal structures along water ways before it can be implemented. He stated this when a flooding episode hit the city last year. He noted, though, that the plan needed to be coordinated with the city council and other government agencies.
In the end, like in the Osmeña proposal, nothing is also happening with it. Hopefully, the latest “creative” solution announced by Osmeña will be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways next year. Maayo na lang na kay sa wa.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 10, 2012.