“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rain, Rain, Rain

Our swimming pool in the flooded garden
The last couple of weeks we got an unusually lot of rain. Our garden was flooded again as we have not yet brought the garden above flood level.

The first week the rain was from typhoon Saola, who just passed the island of Luzon, however it made no land-fall and went off to the north, but most of the rain came the last two weeks just from the monsoon.

In  three weeks time we got much more than average this time of the year.

The average for July and August (62 days) are 341 mm and 398 mm, so a total of 739 mm or 250 mm for 3 weeks (21 days). The average figures are for Manila area, but we have the same climate as in Manila.

See the real accumulated rain data from my weather station in below graph. In the last 3 weeks we got 540 mm, while the average is 250 mm, so more than double.
In the last 2 weeks we got 350 mm, while the average is 166 mm, also more than double.

My weather station accumulated rain graph

Although the flooding here is uncomfortable but usually not disastrous, it is not like what usually happens in Manila and some other area's on Luzon island, like in Pampanga.

Some statistics.
This time Manila was flooded for 80% and there are reported 80 dead, some people are missing and 362.000 people were sheltering in evacuation centers. The number of people officially affected by the floods also rose to 2.44 million at its peak. The real number is probably much higher.

As a Dutchman and engineer from a country with a long history in water management and having seen major projects initiated and implemented after the disastrous flooding of 1953 in The Netherlands, to protect our country from flooding by the sea as well by rivers and canals, I am really surprised that in the Philippines money spent is on rescue services and equipment, but not on water management.

It seems that the government and political parties accept these yearly returning disasters as something that is an act of god, while with simple measures already a lot can be done to reduce the affects of torrential rains.

Most important is to cleanup the waterways, like the Pasig river and Marikina river. They are now full with garbage and water plants, which reduces the draining capacity significantly.

The La Mesa reservoir, north of Metro Manila, should have an additional drainage canal for additional draining capacity, in stead of opening the dam and flooding large parts of Manila.

And last but not least, there should be a policy and law enforcement, not to build houses in low area's which are easily flooded and near the main water ways and rivers.

As after the disastrous flooding of  New Orleans, USA, in 2005, as a result of hurricane Katrina, lessons were learned and consultancy from foreign companies with expertise in water management were called in. It seems to be much saver now in New Orleans and this is what the Philippines should do as well.


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