Sunday, May 22, 2016

FLOODING – Its mainly the fault of the system!

It is only going to get worse unless the systems change NOW

The system must be changed. This is only the tip of the ICEBURG, as later on this year when the rains really come, (the last week’s rain were minimal) it will get worse. Even this week, many people who did not believe they were under threat, in fact had their homes go underwater, resulting in quite a shock to those hitherto smug residents believing them to be completely immune from attack!

The Prime Minister in his visit to Biyagama flood victims was quite categoric with his insinuations as to who was to blame for the cataclysm! In 1977,(40 years ago) when Biyagama was no more than marshland and paddy fields, as Organizer for the area, planned a new BOI Economic Zone there. He had identified that Kelani River Valley in that area as particularly flood prone. Plans had been made to reduce this threat, none of which have yet been implemented, and steps have been taken to actually aggravate the problem even more!

This week’s flooding was an accident waiting to happen. People together with political patronage, broke all regular rules and procedures, and obstructed natural flood defenses, by destructive sand mining projects that have reduced the height of the  river banks significantly, unauthorized buildings, hotels and halls on river banks, and filling up paddy lands to build structures, that undermined the free flow of water, restricting their natural flow further squeezing excess water further out inland. This has left a gradually increasing area, that is flood prone that is only going to extend this area further with more development, and human habitation, inland.

As quite normal in other Countries, a series of berms or levies, raising river banks in certain risk areas, along with the above restrictions would have easily prevented this unnecessary flood and waste of property and loss of life. Why has this not been done here? It will have to be considered and implemented immediately.

The Monsoon rains are yet to come next week. Further floods are likely that will be much worse. NO contingency plans are being made as I write to reduce this economic loss. Further a long term plan must be put in place that is actually implemented, and not be stopped by another set of rulers! This will include a series of levies, tearing down unauthorized structures, creating a flood plain ONLY for agricultural use, with a long term plan of rehousing the people displaced in condominium projects on higher ground as there is insufficient property for each to have a house on terra firma.

This problem will only get worse each year and this is THE ONLY solution. In fact houses unaffected this year will be affected next unless the above is adopted.     

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