Thursday, 1 January 2015

Deforestation must be managed and then enforced by Angkatan Tentera Malaysia or face more floods in future #Banjir2014

Flood can be defined as a body of water, rising, swelling and overflowing land not usually thus covered. Also, overflowing of the bank of a stream, lake or drainage system of water onto adjacent land as a result of storm, ice melt, tidal action and channel obstruction.

'The faster water runs from upstream area of  a river system, the higher the magnitude of the flood will be. Hence anything that increases runoff speed of the rain water, like excessive cleared area due to deforestation will contribute to floods'

'Construction of flood-mitigation infrastructure is vital. It is also equally important to maintain the infrastructure. However, if the forest cover continues to be cleared, no matter how much we spend, Malaysia will not be able to minimise or solve its flood problem. This is mainly because a large amount of water will overcome the infrastructure we construct to contain floods'
Piarapakaran S., President, Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia

The flood devastation as at 29 December 2014:

Source The Malay Mail Online here

In Kuala Krai floods, humanity at its best and worst

‘Complete collapse’ in east coast flood response, NSC concedes 
I believe after this flood has passed........we are staring at one of the biggest flooding event in our history if not the biggest. The end of the flooding signals the start of the repair and remedial work on the damaged roads, bridges, power cables, power substations, water treatment plants and water pipes, sewerage system and include building temporary shelters for those who lost their homes etc.etc. I think the flood damage will take a couple of billion Ringgit to be made good.

I do not want to comment on the rescue and relief effort beyond observing that the Goverment machineries, our armed forces, police, para military and citizen volunteers had performed admirably and selflessly under very difficult circumstances to help the victims caused by the flood.

The Government had announced Flood Mitigation Funding for the affected areas, that is well and good, but I believe any discussion on flooding must also focus on the rampant deforestation by illegal or legal means too. 

Deforestation plays several roles in the flooding equation because trees prevent sediment runoff and forests hold and use more water than farms or grasslands.
  • Some rainwater stays on the leaves, and it may evaporate directly to the air (the more water used in the watershed, the less remains to run off).
  • Leaves reduce raindrop impact, and gentler rain causes less erosion.
  • Tree roots absorb water from the soil, making the soil drier and able to store more rainwater.
  • Tree roots hold the soil in place, reducing the movement of sediment that can shrink river channels downstream. source
read a letter from AWER:

Forest preservation is vital
29 DECEMBER 2014 @ 8:11 AM

THE Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) is not amused by attempts to portray the floods as “punishment from God” or a rare occurrence.

In the 10th Malaysia Plan, it was stated that RM5 billion would be allocated for flood-mitigation programmes. Based on the 2015 Budget breakdown, the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) was supposed to have carred out flood mitigation projects worth RM4.638 billion from 2011 to 2015, but only RM2.459 billion has been allocated so far. The Federal Government had also allocated RM1.788 billion and RM3.998 billion for flood-mitigation programmes under the 8th and 9th Malaysia plans respectively. What is the status of these projects? What were the expected results of projects that were completed by December 2014?

Based on estimates, losses caused by the floods are around RM1 billion a year. This was a figure published by DID in 2002. This means we have suffered a total of RM12 billion in losses until 2013. This year’s floods will cost us a lot more. However, the losses do not include flood mitigation, infrastructure reconstruction and compensation allocations. What is the price that we will pay in the near future if forests continue to be destroyed?

The flood situation has worsened over the years, and it is time to audit the flood-mitigation projects. Awer urges the auditor-general to conduct in-depth audit of flood-mitigation and drainage projects that were planned and executed under the 8th, 9th and 10th Malaysia plans. The audit should also evaluate the success of each project.

Basic science clearly places floods as part of the water cycle. Being part of the equatorial climate, “rain” is the keyword. As we have explained before, when rain falls, a portion of it is absorbed by the forest and soil. The remaining rainfall will flow on the surface as run-off. As we reduce the absorption capacity, naturally, we will increase the amount of surface run-off.

Why the lower absorption capacity? This is due to deforestation, change of land use, increase in impermeable surface and development to cater to an increasing population.

Land matters are under the purview of state governments. This includes the protection of virgin forest. Clearing virgin forest and replanting the area with crops does not make it “green” and “natural”. Destruction of the forest destroys nature’s ability to delay the flow of surface water. Green-coloured crops will not guarantee natural flood mitigation. Once a forest is destroyed, it’s a one-way ticket for all of us.

Awer urges the government to obey nature’s law. Every solution that is planned for flood mitigation must “mimic” nature’s method. Water flows from higher to lower elevations via a logical passage (due to gravity). It forms freshwater swamps and lakes in its journey. The movement of a large volume of water does not follow the passage humans create. The water moves based on its own momentum, and washes away everything in its passage that it can overcome. This was what we witnessed in Bertam Valley, Cameron Highlands. Mimicking nature and using its delaying method is the only way to reduce or prevent such a devastating incident.

Construction of flood-mitigation infrastructure is vital. It is also equally important to maintain the infrastructure. However, if the forest cover continues to be cleared, no matter how much we spend, Malaysia will not be able to minimise or solve its flood problem. This is mainly because a large amount of water will overcome the infrastructure we construct to contain floods.

Remember, we live in equilibrium with nature. Any attempt to destroy it is like charting our own destruction.!

Piarapakaran S., president, Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer)

My thots:

Deforestation must b managed n enforced by ATM or more flood in future!

Source here, Locations shown are an aproximation only
Easy Reading on Deforestation and Flood: 


Syahmi Zaludin said...
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