Flooding Solutions-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
IT WAS a “water-ful” weekend for some towns in Pampanga as tropical storm “Karen,” who was up north, exited from our Philippine Area of Responsibility. As matter of fact, many low-lying towns in the province are still submerged in floodwaters brought about by last month’s habagat.
Habagat is not a typhoon but merely an “assuming” monsoon, according to a fan page in a popular social networking site. So far, we haven’t experienced a very windy and watery weather disturbance yet for this year, and we hope we will be spared from such.
Last Saturday, monstrous traffic jams were experienced in some busy streets in Angeles City and the City of San Fernando as flashfloods attacked waterways, err, streets which also now function as “canals.”
Vehicles were caught in gridlocks as cars either stopped or slowed down to prevent damage to their vehicles via “drowning.”
In the eastern portion of the province, particularly in Mexico and some parts of Sta. Ana, water rose as high as three feet in residential and agricultural areas last Sunday afternoon despite the fact that there was no rain to cause the flashfloods.
In my childhood memories, I never recalled any occurrence of floods of great depth and frequency except in 1972, which was dubbed as the great flood of the decade.
Since the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, our waterways have been filled with silt materials, and of course, garbage thus clogging the water passages which are supposed to drain into our rivers. Other tributaries, meanwhile, were re-channeled either naturally by siltation or through human intervention and disturbing the natural course of the said liquid.
Aside from silt materials and trash, there are illegal fish cages and fish traps constructed along many rivers that hamper the flow of water into the lower portions of rivers and into the sea.
Despite government issuances and standing orders to clear our waterways with these man-made blockades, local governments cannot just have them removed due to lack of – or weak -- political will.
Last Friday, the observations of Mr. Frank Mangulabnan, a respected advocate of human rights and righteousness, were published in this paper aptly entitled “Disaster in Waiting”. First, he presented the problem, then the cause of the problem and came up with possible solutions that our government engineers are actually familiar with.
I am one with him in his question as to why Pampanga, being about 5 meters above sea level at its southern tip and 10 to 40 meters at its north, still suffers from flooding.
I am one with him in his answer too that rainwater does not flow fast enough to the sea because it is blocked, and the width and depth of waterways to accommodate the volume of water is not enough.
Knowing Tang Frank by his name and his advocacies, he need not be a hydrologist or a construction engineer to understand the problem on the perennial flooding in the province as he presented. As he stated, the problem -- and the cause -- are simple, including the solution.
Meanwhile, 2nd District Board Member Salvador Dimson, Jr. has proposed before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan the allocation of funds for the maintenance of dikes in the province. I hope too that he proposes for the removal of anything that blocks vital tributaries in order to “drain” smoothly and proportionately our waterways especially during the rainy season.
Tang Frank is right. We have to unblock and widen first our waterways and secondary to it is the strengthening and maintenance our flood protection dikes. Simple as that.
It’s a disaster in waiting as he properly observed.
Regards to Tang Frank, by the way.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 18, 2012.