Weather weather lang-A A +A
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
TOP in the news these days is the issue of flooding in the city not only here in Davao City but also in Metro Manila, China, US of A, Europe and… I guess it’s all over the world except in Antartica maybe.
It is during these times when suddenly everyone becomes an expert in the roots of flooding and the solutions to this age old problem. It’s because of corruption, the garbage thrown in the canals, the lack of urban planning, the old drainage systems, the lack of prioritization aka lack of political will and so on and so forth….. I would agree that everything mentioned and those not mentioned here are all part of the flooding problem.
But I would like to focus on the some roots of the problem in the urban areas. This is more of a drainage issue in contrast with the over-flooding of rivers which we would really never solve.
As our cities and municipalities expand, we have been converting our agriculture and swamp lands into subdivisions to house our people. As always, developers have always maximized the land (and profits) by flattening its contours, covering or restricting the natural waterways traversing the properties and then fencing their subdivision to prevent waters from neighboring areas from entering their area… the result? Flooding in the surrounding areas plus in the downstream except in their own subdivision.
In certain times karma occurs…… because the concrete fences surrounding the subdivision traps flood waters inside the area creating a vast swimming pool submerging the nice subdivision houses and their expensive cars.
I believe that developers have an obligation to society thus they should always implement flood mitigation measures designed to lessen floods in the surrounding areas. The local engineer’s office of cities and municipalities must properly inspect the subdivision plans and impose centralized retention ponds within the property designed to store the run-off from the houses and streets of the subdivision so not to overburden the existing canals and at the same time replenish the groundwater aquifers. This will be an added cost for the developer but such is the price to pay to make the neighborhood livable and flood free.
Is there an ordinance that will limit the alteration of the natural contours of the land? Let we restrict developers from altering the landscape of their housing projects by not allowing excavation or landfill of the ground of more than two meters just to preserve the natural contours and waterways. For the mass housing projects, rain catchment containers be installed in each house before these are given permits for occupancy. These are just a few flood proofing techniques that engineers and architects must implement… if you are planning to build a house, do your research to make your house flood proof.
On the macro level, there is an outcry for political will to fund the urban drainage projects. I really do not understand what political will means but most of our LGUs from the barangay to the municipality/city to the provincial governments have been allocating a portion of their budget to fund projects aimed at fixing this problem one at a time.
Not enough? Are you suggesting that LGUs prioritize allocation of the infrastructure budget to urban drainage projects? That can easily be done by politicians except that this will mean less budget to fix the potholes on the roads, less classrooms for the children, less health care clinics for the women, less irrigation canals for the farmers and so on….
Hey am just being realistic … the cost of making our cities flood free will run in billions of pesos and are we willing to spend this on drainage projects but spend less on poverty reduction infrastructures? If your answer is yes then call your local politicians to have this political will. For me I prefer to spend on education, health and economic infrastructures while looking for strategic (not comprehensive) interventions that may lessen the impact of the floods on the economic systems of the town and city.
In the meantime, while we do not have the billions of pesos to build the urban drainage systems to free us from the streets floods, we might as well adapt our lifestyles to the rare flood occurrence…
Just like the salawikain we all learn in school -- pag maikli and kumot, matulog ng baluktot.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 22, 2013.