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  Straits Times 21 Sep 07
Johor to get $2.6b flood-control system

Consultants hired to find ways to prevent repeat of disaster earlier this year

JOHOR BARU - JOHOR is to have a comprehensive flood mitigation system estimated to cost RM6 billion (S$2.6 billion). The government has appointed consultants to carry out a study on the measures needed.

The project aims to prevent a recurrence of the big floods that hit the state late last year and early this year. More than 100,000 people had to be evacuated and 17 lives were lost during the floods, which were the worst in 100 years.

State Drainage and Irrigation director Chong Chee Han said the consultants would take a year to carry out the study before submitting the Flood Mitigation Master Plan to the federal government.

'The (plan) is a long-term measure to alleviate flood problems in Johor and the appointment of the consultants is an early step towards getting the project implemented,' he said.

The local consultants will conduct studies on the six main river basins in Johor before submitting a comprehensive plan for each of the areas. The basins are at Sungai Batu Pahat, Sungai Mersing, Sungai Muar, Sungai Johor, Kluang town and rivers in the Iskandar Development Region.

Mr Chong said that apart from the proposed long-term plan, short-term measures were also being carried out. An RM840 million allocation had been set aside by the federal government for such work, and 80 per cent of it will be completed this year.

Work comprises the digging of drains, deepening of rivers, repair of river banks, building of river bunds, and repair of bridges and estate roads.

Mr Chong said proposals by Johoreans for the construction of more dams to alleviate flood problems should be studied.

But he added that 'building a dam requires at least 200,000ha which will be submerged in water and has to be at a strategic hilly location'. He said most of the land in Johor is privately owned and this could hamper efforts to build more dams. BERNAMA

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