The first phase of the Sungai Kelantan Integrated River Basin Development Project (PLSB), worth RM572 million, could not have come at a better time for more than 100,000 residents in the Tumpat, Pasir Mas, Kota Bharu, Tanah Merah and Machang districts in Kelantan, who are badly hit each year by monsoonal floods.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the project, which will officially start tomorrow and expected to be completed by May 28, 2021, would also protect public infrastructure and property along 10 kilometres of the river’s banks.
“In general, the implementation of the infrastructure comprises of four main components, namely the Flood Mitigation Plan, Living River, Environmentally-Friendly Drainage and Water Balance.”
Wan Junaidi was speaking at the PLSB groundbreaking ceremony, which was launched by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in Kota Bahru today.
Also present were Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob and International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.
Wan Junaidi said the implementation of the PLSB project was at the behest of the prime minister as Kelantan was often hit by flood disasters causing people to be evacuated.
He said the Flood Mitigation Plan involves the upgrading of the Sungai Pengkalan Datu and its estuary, dredging sand from the mouth of Sungai Kelantan, construction of levees and flood walls, installation of control doors in Sungai Pinang and Sungai Tikat here as well as reclaiming land for the affected areas.
Construction of the 1.5km flood wall and bunds will also be implemented especially at Kampung Laut, Tumpat to support the Kelantan government's efforts to develop the village as a kampung warisan (heritage village) and further develop the tourism industry in the village, he said.
“The Living River component involved the stabilisation of river banks, water treatment at Sungai Pengkalan Chepa and river dredging works, while the drainage system at Bandar Baru Tunjung and Istana Kota Lama here would be upgraded under the Environmental-Friendly Drainage component. This component also involves the construction of the Sungai Seribong and Alor KADA Reservoirs,” he said.
The Water Balance component involves the development of the Water Balance model in the Sungai Kelantan basin so that the current water resources and forecasts information can be provided 14 days ahead.
He said in addition to addressing flash floods, the PLSB project would also reduce waste inflow from entering Sungai Pengkalan Chepa to five tonnes per month.
Wan Junaidi said the construction of the 3.7km flood wall/ levee for the project in Kota Bharu was implemented using the “design and build” method under the Ninth Malaysia Plan costing RM220,735,470 and completed in August 2013.
He said the PLSB Sungai Kelantan project should be implemented in an integrated and continuous phase with an estimated total cost of about RM9.6 billion.
The Kelantan River Basin has a total area of 12,981,185 sq km which covers 75 per cent of Kelantan's total area where the main river is the 107km Sungai Kelantan and the main tributaries are the 72km Sungai Lebir, 87km Sungai Galas and 115km Sungai Nenggiri.
Kelantan is a state that is vulnerable to flooding especially during the northeast monsoon from October to January every year.
After the massive floods in 1926, there were eight more major floods. in 1967, 1971, 1974, 1980, 1988, 1994, 2004 and 2014 where flood incidents in the Sungai Kelantan basin affected more than 70 per cent of Kelantan’s 1.2 million people and paralysed its economic activities.