KOTA KINABALU: The Government will spend RM50 million to construct a 4.4 kilometre-long bund to alleviate flooding in Tenom town.
Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, said the tender for the project would be called early next year, and the construction is expected to be completed by 2025.
“This is only the first phase of the flood mitigation project in Tenom. The Tenom bund will be up to seven metres tall, with five main culverts built and flap gates on all outlets.
“The project will also put in place a better flood and warning monitoring as well as raise the road across the bund according to the standard set by the Public Works Department,” he said after visiting the Tenom Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) yesterday.
Kitingan, who is also the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, said Tenom town location which is near the confluence of the Pegalan River and the Padas River means the town is always at risk of being flooded whenever heavy rain occurs.
Houses built along the main Padas River are mostly below the road level, and unfortunately, the Tenom Bund Project will not be able to protect them from future floods.
The DID proposed that these residents be relocated to higher ground before a tragedy occurred, such as the loss of lives.
However, this proposal will need to be deliberated further with the District Office, such as replacing lost land, identifying proper housing areas, and compensating where necessary.
Tenom suffered one of its worst floods six weeks ago, forcing more than 5,000 residents to flee their homes.
“We are also considering other potential solutions to the problem, such as diverting the river further away from the population and building an artificial lake which could also serve as a water reservoir for the district,” said Kitingan.
Kitingan pointed out that the flood problem is a natural phenomenon due to the district location near two major rivers in the interior of Sabah.
However, the more frequent and severe flooding the Tenom residents have seen over the last decade may have been caused by human activities upstream.
These environmentally damaging activities, such as logging and agriculture, have resulted in erosion, degradation of water catchment areas, and mud floods.
“I hope that after the bund is completed, floods like the ones that occurred in 2014 and in May of this year would no longer occur,” he said.