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‘Flood-Free’ Metro Manila? Not Possible

Is it really possible to eliminate flooding in Metro Manila?

While the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is targeting “zero flooding” by 2030, an official of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said a “flood-free” Metro Manila is not possible since some areas are below sea level.

DPWH-National Capital Region South Manila district engineer Mikunug Macud earlier said the target of DPWH and MMDA is to make Metro Manila “flood-free” by 2030.

“Our aim is by 2030, Metro Manila is flood-free. We believe it’s doable,” he said in an interview with GMA News. “The target of the DPWH and MMDA, our mandate is up to 2030, there will be no more flood and no more ugly road. All will be good.”

But in a separate interview, MMDA Task Force Special Operations head Edison “Bong” Nebrija admitted that “unfortunately, we cannot totally have flood-free Metro Manila.”

He noted that some parts of the region are below sea level, which is why they are focusing on the improving pumping stations so that it can discharge more water from flooded areas in a shorter period of time.

“If you notice, before when we have floods like this, it will take long for it to subside. But now, it takes only hours for us to pump out the water,” Nebrija said, noting the improved capability of the pumping stations.

The MMDA official also bared plans to improve waste reduction programs and “garbage monitoring,” noting the amount of solid waste clogging drainage systems despite year-round declogging and clean-up activities.

“We buy the plastic to take them away from consumers and recycle them so this will not be part of the problem anymore on the streets and drainage on esteros (canal) when the rainy season comes,” he said.

Nebrija’s comments came after heavy flooding due to rains hassled motorists and commuters along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) earlier on Thursday.

According to SLEX’s Twitter account, traffic reached up to 17.3 kilometers from the Alabang viaduct’s northbound lane by 10 a.m.

It was later reported that a Bicutan mall’s ongoing expansion hit a drainage system, which caused the flooding in the area.

Aside from the continuing problem of clogged drainages in some areas, Nebrija said the high amount of rainfall also contributed to the flooding.

“The sudden rainfall, the volume of water that has fallen in Metro Manila (on Wednesday night, July 12)… for a short period of time, that created the flood,” he said during the interview.

“The pumping stations helped to pump out (the flood waters) to Pasig River and even though there was flooding, it did not last long,” he added.

Likely to happen again

In an interview on “One Balita Pilipinas” on One PH on Friday, July 14, MMDA acting chairman Don Artes said heavy traffic jams can re-occur in the area until the drainage is repaired.

“That’s why our pump systems have been placed on standby… so in the event that it rains heavily, our people can start draining immediately to avoid heavy floods,” Artes said in Filipino.

Like Nebrija, Artes said they are working on further improvements in response measures.

He said the DPWH plans to increase the pumping stations through funding from the World Bank.

“Existing stations will be rehabilitated to increase capacity. Improvements are continuous and I can say once done, this will provide much relief during times of flood,” Artes said.

Artes said they will are also developing a “drainage masterplan” for Metro Manila.

“This way, rain water will flow straight out of Metro Manila,” he said.

Source: One News

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