Flood analyses

OUR readers can take our title literally or metaphorically. There is a flood of analyses, explanations and defenses about the August 2 flood in Bacolod but a drought of admission of responsibility and the prospect of Bacolod being flood free. In effect, the floods are to be expected as often as heaven opens to cleanse the earth.

The most stupid explanation about the flood was from one who said that they “did not anticipate” the heavy rains. I don’t know whether he knows what season of the year we are in now when the Habagat strikes. But I guess he was bereft of anything to say but must defend why the contractors dug up the streets almost at the same time, at different parts of the same street and leave the work unfinished until the flood struck and then covered the holes pronto as vehicles fell into them.

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia is not at fault that the rain was heavy and the contractors left their work so quickly they did not consider the public safety anymore. The promised railings never arrived.

On the other hand, Leonardia blamed people who threw their garbage anywhere. Indeed, garbage is a major factor in the clogged waterways and prevents water from flushing down to the sea. Surely the mayor knows this, so why did he not take action against the city’s contracted garbage collector, IPM corporation, that failed to collect the mounds of garbage from the streets?

Rain, a friend once told me, is nature’s way of cleansing the earth aside from quenching the thirst of the land. So rains must come and when they do the water must flow and carry with it whatever is along its path. Trash and loose sand, for instance, get into where the water brings them – into canals and rivers and there, some of the rubbish are deposited. There they accumulate and eventually block the flow and cause the flood.

It is not the rain water that causes the flood, but the blockage created by human activities and their failure to remove them that prevent their natural flow.

We are glad that Bacolod Cong. Greg Gasataya had brought in the projects for a drainage system but the work seemed sporadic and cut up into small portions. This is the reason we have been asking for the names of the contractors and other relevant information to know who are to blame but DPWH keeps this information a “state secret” in violation of its own rules. But let’s put that aside for another column.

The drainage system must bring the water to the sea. In Bacolod, water must first flow to the rivers and through them to the sea. The question is: are these rivers clear as to allow the flow of water quickly? If not then the drainage system being constructed will not solve the flood problem. It will only worsen the situation. In effect, the drainage system being constructed will be for naught. A funnel-like water channel creates floods.The water exit must be bigger than its entrance.

The flood last August 2 reveals one thing for certain – the natural water outlets of Bacolod, the rivers and creeks of which it has several, are clogged. The places close to the rivers and creeks were flooded, which is unnatural. From Pahanocy to Mandalagan, there are rivers and esteros. How could they have failed to accommodate the drain waters when in times past they were able to do so even under the storm?

I have never come across a report that Bacolod was flooded until the 1990s when floods became almost predictable. What factor entered into the city that caused the flooding?

I asked some people and they have similar answer – the reclamation project that constricted and diverted the flow. But that is not alone. The creeks and rivers are blocked by illegal structures. Building narrowed the river banks; building posts stand on the water ways and garbage get stuck on them. Bacolod’s drainage is like a choked funnel.

The waterways are under the DPWH but the illegal structures could not have been there without a city permit and if the city had enforced the law against illegal structures. Someone should now look at the mirror to see the culprit.

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