Document Sample
					          DERAF TEKS UCAPAN

            KETUA PENGARAH

               IN MALAYSIA”

  (Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment)

                  21 June 2007


  1.    Introduction
Flood Management
  2.    Occurrence of Flood Events
  3.    Flood Relief Machinery and Organization
  4.    Flood Forecasting and Warning System
  5.    Flood Management Options (a) Structural Measures
  6.    Flood     Management      Options      (b)     Non-Structural
  7.    Flood Management Emergency : Lessons from Recent
        Johor 2006/2007 Floods
Drought Management
  8.    Occurrence of Drought Events
  9.    Drought Impact on Environment
  10.   Drought Impact on Agriculture
  11.   Drought Monitoring
  12.   Drought Management Options (a) Demand Reductions
  13.   Drought      Management     Options          (b)      System
  14.   Drought    Management      Options           (c)   Emergency
Common Matters

  15.   Legislative and Institutional Issues

  16.   Challenges Ahead

  17.   Conclusion

1. Introduction
     Malaysia is fortunate that it is not directly affected by
serious   disasters   like   earthquake,   hurricanes,   typhoon,
tornadoes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. This country is
also rich in water resources, receiving an abundant amount of
rain every year. The average annual rainfall is 2,400 mm for
Peninsular Malaysia, 3,800 mm for Sarawak and 2,600 mm for

     Even though Malaysia has seemingly sufficient water
resources to meet all our needs for the foreseeable future and
not too excessive as compared to other countries like
Bangladesh, there are some water-related problems which have
raised concerns among water engineers and the public. The
problems are not about having too little water to satisfy our
needs, as in some water-scarce countries in the world, or too
much to cope with, rather, it is a problem of not managing
water effectively to achieve our desired objectives. In some
river basins, there is already the problem of water shortage
especially during periods of prolong droughts, and conversely,
the problem of excessive water and floods during the wet

     Increasingly, as we move towards the year 2020, the
country is expected to face serious challenges relating to flood
and drought management. Per capita availability of water will
greatly decrease as a result of a growing population and
greater per capita use of water for a better quality of life,
urbanization and industrialization. Other potential problems
include increased severity and frequency of flash floods,

prolong droughts especially during El-Nino years, water and
land use conflicts, decreasing crop yields and increasing water
demand for food production, pollution control, outbreak of
water-borne     diseases,     declining    aquatic   biodiversity,
deforestation, and uncontrolled erosion and sedimentation.

     There are two major water-related problems affecting this
country, i.e. excess water (floods) and water shortage
(droughts). These problems have disrupted the quality of life
and economic growth in the country and can result in severe
damage and loss of properties, and occasionally loss of human
lives as can be seen in the recent December 2006 and January
2007 floods in Johor as well as the 1998 prolong water rationing
widespread in the Klang Valley area.

2.   Occurrence of Flood Events

     Flooding is the most significant natural hazard in Malaysia
in terms of population affected, frequency, area extent, flood
duration and social economic damage. Having 189 river basins
throughout Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak, the rivers
and their corridors of flood plains fulfill a variety of functions
both for human use and for the natural ecosystem, i.e. they are
fundamental parts of the natural, economic, and social system
wherever they occur. At the same time, rivers might be the
largest threat to entire corridor areas.
     Since 1920, the country has experienced major floods in
the years of 1926, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1979,
1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2005 and most recently in December

2006 and January 2007 which occurred in Johor. The January
1971 flood that hit Kuala Lumpur and many other states had
resulted in a loss of more than RM 200 million then and the
death of 61 persons. In fact, during the recent Johor 2006-07
flood due to a couple of “abnormally” heavy rainfall events
which caused massive floods, the estimated total cost of these
flood disasters is RM 1.5 billion, considered as the most costly
flood    events   in   Malaysian   history.   Recent   urbanization
amplifies the cost of damage in infrastructures, bridges, roads,
agriculture and private commercial and residential properties.
At the peak of that recent Johor flood, around 110,000 people
were evacuated and sheltering in relief centers and the death
toll was 18 persons.
        The basic cause of river flooding is the incidence of heavy
rainfall (monsoon or convective) and the resultant large
concentration of runoff, which exceeds river capacity. However,
in recent years, rapid development within river catchment has
resulted in higher runoff and deteriorated river capacity; this
has in turn resulted in an increase in the flood frequency and
magnitude. With 60% of the Malaysian population now residing
in urban areas, flash flooding in urban areas are perceived to
be the most critical flood type (surpassing the monsoon flood)
since the mid 1990‟s. This is reflected in the flood frequency
and magnitude, social-economic disruption, public outcry,
media coverage and the government‟s escalating allocation to
mitigate them.
        In the coastal areas, flooding could be attributed to high
tides and occasionally aggravated by heavy rains or strong

wind. In the last decade, also of great concern is the increased
occurrence of other flood-related disasters such as debris flood
flow, mud flow and land slides in mountain streams and hill
slopes, not to mention the new threat of tsunami-induced
coastal flood disasters. Flood management aims to reduce the
likelihood and the impact of floods. Experience has shown that
the most effective approach is through the development of
flood management programs incorporating a holistic approach
with respect to the following strategies :
     i. Prevention - preventing damage caused by floods by
        avoiding construction of houses,           properties   and
        industries in present and future flood-prone areas; by
        adapting future developments to the risk of flooding;
        and by promoting appropriate land-use, agricultural
        and forestry practices;
     ii. Protection - taking measures, both structural and non-
        structural, to reduce the likelihood and the impact of
        floods in a specific location;
    iii. Preparedness - informing the public about flood risks
        and what to do in the event of a flood;
    iv. Emergency      response     –    developing     emergency
        response plans and actions in case of a flood; and
     v. Recovery and lessons learned - returning to normal
        conditions as soon as possible and mitigating both the
        social   and   economic     impacts   on      the   affected
  Essentially, the overall objectives of flood management
  should include:

    i.     To reduce the adverse impact of floods and the
           likelihood of floods,
    ii.    To promote sustainable flood management measures,
   iii.    To look for opportunities to work with natural
           processes and to deliver, if possible, multiple benefits
           from flood management,
   iv.     To inform the public and relevant authorities about the
           flood risk and how to deal with it.

3. Flood Relief Machinery and Organization

         Following the disastrous flood of 1971, which affected
many areas in Malaysia, the Government has established the
Natural Disaster Relief Committee in 1972 with the task of
coordinating flood relief operations at national, state and
district levels with a view to prevent loss of human lives and to
reduce flood damage. The coordination of relief operations is
the responsibility of the Natural Disaster Relief Committee
which is headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia in the
National Security Council of the Prime Minister‟s Department.
         The committee members consist of various Cabinet
Ministers such as the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Social
Welfare, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment,
the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, senior
government officials such as of the Government‟s Chief
Secretary,     the   Army    General,    and     related   government
agencies/departments such as DID, MMD, MACRES, Social

Welfare Department, Police Department and Fire and Rescue
     The organization of flood relief and operation is based on
the Operation Procedure No. 29 published by the National
Security Council. Beside, DID has published the Circular No.
2/2003 – “Guidelines for Management of Flood Disasters during
the Monsoon Season and Flash Floods” which is to coordinate
the preparation of flood operations at federal, state and district
     In accordance with the Operating Procedure under the
flood relief mechanism, when the river stage of any flood
warning station reaches the Alert Level, DID begins to monitor
closely the flood situation. When it reaches Warning Level, DID
will inform the relevant flood control centers so that flood relief
mechanism shall be activated. At Danger Level, considerable
areas are flooded and will warrant evacuation of flood victims.
During the flood season, the respective state DID office shall
carry out flood forecast operation using real-time telemetric
data (rainfall and river water level) and river forecasting
computer models. When the river water level at any forecasting
point exceeds critical level, the forecasts shall be transmitted to
the Flood Operation Centers and other relevant agencies such
as the National Security Division of the Prime Minister‟s
Department and the National and State (Police) Control Centre
for flood relief/operation.

4   Flood Forecasting and Warning System

     Flood forecasting and warning system constitutes an
effective and economical means to reduce loss of lives, trauma
of disaster and property damage. Since 1971, DID has been
designated with the task of providing flood forecasting and
warning services to the public. Available records showed that
flood warning services were first provided for the flood event of
1925 when floods occurred along the Kinta River in Perak and
Klang River in Selangor and Bernam River in Selangor/Perak
boundary. It is also known that the flood warning system based
on river levels of the Kelantan River at Bradley Steps, Kuala
Krai has been used to warn the people of Kota Bharu
downstream since early 1900‟s. The police were reading and
transmitting the rainfall and water level information via VHF
sets to the Flood Warning and Relief Committee in Kota Bharu.
     After the floods of 1971, the flood warning systems of
major rivers subjected to severe flooding were reviewed. The
major deficiencies identified were inadequacy of rainfall and
water level station networks to provide timely and reliable real-
time data. Based on this review and its recommendations,
telemetric stations,   both rainfall   and water level, were
established at strategic locations to enable the transmission of
real-time data to flood operation centers. The review also
highlighted the need for more accurate flood forecasting
techniques to replace the empirical river stage correlation
technique, and recommended the use of mathematical models,

which would take into account the rainfall and catchment
characteristics as well as river system configurations.
     To date, DID has established about 335 telemetric rain-
gauges and 208 telemetric water level stations in the vicinity of
40 river basins for real time flood monitoring. At these stations,
three critical flood levels are designated, namely Alert, Warning
and Danger. In addition, 400 river observation points are
provided with manual flood gauges and more than 250 siren
stations has been established.
  At this moment, the real time information of rainfall and river
water level is published on-line via the Info-Banjir webpage and
could be directly accessed by government officials and the
public. Moreover, short messages system (SMS) is also
provided to give an alert to relevant officers in-charge of
government       agencies   such   as   police,   army,   Malaysia
Meteorological Department (MMD), JPA3, DID, and National
Security Division (BKN) at Prime Minister Department.
   About 100 new hydrometric stations (rain-gauges and water
level) is proposed to be installed in 2007 and 2008 for
improving the hydrological network for the existing flood
forecasting and warning system. Accommodating the flood
warning and response system with advanced technology is
also essential and will be implemented under the Ninth
Malaysia Plan.

5. Flood Management Options (a) Structural Measures

     After the disastrous flood of 1971, beside the Natural
Disaster Relief Committee (1972), the Government has also
established the Permanent Flood Control Commission in
December 1971 to implement flood control measures with a
view to reduce flood occurrence and to minimize flood damage.
This commission is presently chaired by the Minister of Natural
Resources and Environment (previously chaired by the Minister
of Agriculture) and DID acting as the secretariat.
     Since 1971, the Department of Irrigation and Drainage
(DID) has been designated with the task of implementing both
structural and non-structural flood mitigation measures. Flood
mitigation plans have been developed for 17 major river basins
and 27 towns. Based on these plans, various structural and
non-structural measures have been proposed and implemented
in stages. The structural measures include improving river
channel sections, building of flood protection bunds, perimeter
bunds, by-pass flood ways, use of former mining ponds for
flood attenuation and construction of flood retention dams to
regulate flood flows and minimize flood occurrence.
     For the periods from 1971 to 2000 (30 years) and 2001 to
2005 (5 years), a total of RM 1.642 billion and RM 1.790 billion
respectively had been spent on structural flood mitigation
measures.    However, under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-
2010), the allocation for structural flood control works has
escalated to RM 3.834 billion. It is estimated that the cost of

future river improvement and flood mitigation works for the
next 15 years will amount to more than RM 17 billion.

6.      Flood Management Option (b) Non-Structural Measures

        In the past, local government and developers relied upon
engineering solutions to move stormwater as quickly as
possible into concrete channels toward discharge locations. As
a result, the overload of stormwater entering waterways created
significant flood damages. Today, in the current emphasis of
peak discharge control at source, a new Urban Stormwater
Management Manual (MSMA) has been published by DID in
2000 which has superseded the Urban Drainage Planning and
Design Procedure No.1 (1975). In January 2001, it has been
approved by the Cabinet to be implemented and complied by all
local authorities, public and private development projects as
        Urban stormwater runoff is water from precipitation and
landscape surface flows which do not infiltrate into the soil.
Under natural and undeveloped conditions, surface runoff can
range from 10 to 30 percent of the total annual precipitation.
Depending on the level of development and the site planning
methods used, the alteration of physical conditions can result
in a significant increase of surface runoff to over 50 percent of
the overall precipitation. In addition, enhancement of the site
drainage to eliminate potential on-site detention can also result
in increases in surface runoff.

     Alteration in site runoff characteristics can cause an
increase in the volume and frequency of runoff flows
(discharge) and velocities that cause flooding, accelerated
erosion, and reduced groundwater recharge and contributed to
degradation of natural rivers and streams. It flows over
roadways and other hard surfaces in our urban landscape,
picking up rubbish and sediments and flows into culverts,
channels, and into rivers. As we cover more land surface areas,
less water can be absorbed by the soil. Thus, the volume of
urban stormwater is increasing. This escalating volume of
urban runoff not only increases siltation and blockage in rivers,
it also elevates the risk and severity of flooding.
     However, this Urban Stormwater Management Manual
procedure     provides      control    at-source    measures     and
recommendations on flood control by means of detention and
retention,   infiltration   and   purification   process,   including
erosion and sedimentation controls. The quality and quantity of
the runoff from developing areas can be maintained to be the
same as pre-development condition.
     The benefits of reducing urban runoff at-source using the
Urban Stormwater Management Manual procedure would be:
          i. A natural drainage system which costs less to
          ii. Replenishing local groundwater supplies using
             natural drainage can help avoid the more expensive
             inter-state water transfer projects;

          iii. Using a natural drainage system avoids the
            extraordinary costs of structural remedial and
            mitigation measures that result from flood damage.
     In order to achieve the MSMA guideline objective, DID has
implemented the following:
          i. To review previous drainage master plans using
            the new urban stormwater management approach.
          ii. To upgrade old drainage systems in stages.
          iii. To network cooperation and support from other
            government agencies such as Local Authorities,
            Town and Country Planning Department, Forestry
            Department, Malaysia Highway Authority, Public
            Works Department, Department of Environment,
            CIDB, etc.
          iv. To organize training courses for engineers with the
            Institution   of   Engineers,     Malaysia   (IEM)    for
            enhancing the practising engineers‟ expertise.
          v. To impose Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan
            as    mandatory        approval    for   earth      works
            development plan.
     To   date,   some    public    development      projects    have
implemented the new urban stormwater management approach.
At the Federal Government Administrative Center, Putrajaya, it
has been applied by incorporating the lake and wetlands as
storage and purifier of stormwater. In addition, there are some
private housing projects utilizing this new approach too.

7.   Flood Management Emergency : Lessons from Recent
     Johor 2006/2007 Floods
     During the extreme floods in Johor in December 2006 and
January 2007 recently, a number of unexpected situations
arose which are important lessons to be remembered in flood
management. Flood operation requires close cooperation and
understanding among various parties involved at the flood
plain to be efficient and successful in rescue of victims and
reduction of property losses, including at district level
coordination. The flood mitigation infrastructures and the flood
warning system may be damaged right at the start of the flood
event. This will create chaos and additional dangers in the flood
rescue operations, especially when both road transport and
telecommunications are disrupted and electricity supply is
short-circuited at the start of the flood and rescue operations
has to continue throughout the night.
     The proper operation of flood mitigation structures within
allowable safety limits such as the dams will greatly reduce
flood impact. An advanced and accurate flood warning
information system provided in a timely manner before and
throughout the flood duration also helped to reduce the number
of flood victim deaths, trauma and property damages. Flood
hazard maps should be produced early and disseminated to the
public beforehand to help and guide the flood victims to safety
in the fastest possible routes when flooding occurs. Evacuation
centers and emergency food supplies may be submerged by
rising floods ! The problem of theft, looting and escape of wild
animals such as in crocodile farms posed an additional distress
and danger during flood operations.

8.   Occurrence of Drought Events

     Parallel to the growth in population and the good
economic environment over the years which has resulted in
extensive industrialization, emphasis was also given to
agricultural activities in line with the country‟s policy to make
agriculture the third engine of growth for the economy.
Collectively, these have imposed a continuously increasing
water demand, and       to some extent, caused water stress to
certain regions of the country where the demand has exceeded
the carrying capacity of the river basins. Given that water is a
finite resource, its per capita availability in future will definitely
decrease due to these factors.
     Almost all the water used in this country is extracted from
surface water sources with ground water contributing only
about 3 %. Although the annual rainfall is very high (3,000 mm
average) there are large variations both in time and in space,
and river flows are prone to large fluctuations as well. Hence
Malaysia is subject to prolong dry periods which can easily
affect   its   freshwater   supply.   This   has   led   to   drought
occurrences in the past with the most notable one being that of
the 1997/98 El Nino related drought which caused extensive
impact to the environment, economic and social activities of
the whole nation. In some parts of the country such as
Selangor, Sarawak and Sabah, the prolong drought resulted in
a lowering of the ground water table especially in peat areas,
and consequently many cases of extensive forest fires. The
local air quality condition became worse because of the thick
haze blown from forest fires both locally and from neighbouring

countries. Such a situation persisted for months and posed a
serious threat to the health of the people. In some places,
schools had to close down temporary and there was poor
vision for the traffic including problems to the pilots in landing
their aircrafts.
      There have been other cases of drought events in
Malaysia as well. In 1991, Malaysia has experience a serious
drought. One of the main water supply dams, the Durian
Tunggal dam, in the state of Melaka, had run dry. Most of the
population in Melaka could not get their normal water supply
and have to revert to other sources while waiting for the
solution. Finally the Federal and State governments have to
consider the proposal of building a 60km pipeline to transfer
water from Muar River into the dam.

9.    Drought Impact on Environment

      Malaysia lies within the heavy rainfall region of the world.
The chance of serious drought is very much less as compared
to other countries. However, when a drought occurs, haze is
often a major issue. It has caused many health problems
especially to the asthmatic people. It also causes limited
visibility and it deters tourists from visiting the country. This
results in a serious loss of revenue to the country. Hence, the
management of drought needs to minimize the environmental
impact of drought.
      DID has became a member of the Haze Committee chaired
by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. This
committee decides on the actions to be undertaken to reduce

the effect of haze which usually happen during a drought. Most
of the haze problems are due to clearing large parts of the
jungle for conversion into agriculture plantation and forest
burning is aggravated by the drought season in which the
burning process is difficult to control. During the particularly
dry period of the 1997/98 El Nino related drought, almost the
whole of Sabah was experiencing more than 75 % rainfall deficit
compared to the long-term mean (for a period of between 4 to 9
months), and in some areas the deficit was as high as 90 %. In
Miri, Sarawak, one of the rainfall stations recorded more than
100 no-rain days, the longest drought recorded so far.

10   Drought Impact on Agriculture

     With regards to irrigation supply for agriculture and food
production, water shortages are also experienced in varying
degree of severity, and in the past, prolong droughts have
resulted in the delay or cancellation of the paddy planting
season. During such occasions, the paddy farmers whose
livelihood depends mainly from paddy cultivation, would be
seriously affected. As an example, the large agricultural
granary area of the Muda Irrigation Scheme in Kedah has
experienced three occasions of severe drought, viz. in 1978,
1987 and 1991. As a consequence, the paddy farmers had to
forego the off season planting due to insufficient water storage
in the Muda and Pedu Dams, resulting in severe shortfalls both
in income as well as in paddy production. As for the whole
country, the impact of drought on food production can be very

serious, given that there are about 322,000 hectare of irrigated
paddy fields and another 278,000 hectare of rain-fed paddy
fields producing about 2.5 million tonnes of paddy per annum.
DID, in fact, is very concerned with the supply of water for
irrigation, especially for small irrigation schemes, during a
drought. This is because about 70 % of the total water
consumption in this country is utilized for irrigated agriculture.

11   Drought Monitoring

     Drought     monitoring     is   being     done    continuously
throughout the year in the Department of Irrigation and
Drainage to keep track of rainfall deficits happening in the
country. This would enable appropriate drought management
options to be undertaken in a timely manner to reduce the
impact of droughts. In addition to rainfall deficits, the trend of
river low flow water levels and dam impoundment water surface
levels are also being monitored in real time measurements to
enhance the effectiveness of drought monitoring and decision
support system. Monitoring of drought is done to be alert of the
current drought situation and to be more prepared for an onset
of a drought occurrence.
       From    the   DID    hydrological     data,    Malaysia     has
experienced some degree of drought starting from the month of
January until August each year. During this time, dams will be
carefully regulated so that the water will be made available
throughout the dry months. However, drought forecasting
technologies has not been well developed yet in this country.
When    developed    in    future,   drought   forecasting       would

significantly improve the management of droughts in the long-

12.     Drought Management Options (a) Demand Reductions

        Water demand reduction is usually the first line of
response action whenever a drought occurs. For example, the
1997/1998 El Nino episode had caused the upper Klang River
and Langat River catchments to experience severe rainfall
deficit resulting in a 6-month water supply shortage and
consequentially water rationing was imposed widespread all
over the Klang Valley beginning in April 1998. Similarly, water
shortage was also experienced in the highly urbanized areas of
Melaka and Pulau Pinang prompting the water               supply
authorities   to   undertake   the   necessary   water-rationing
measures. In times of severe drought, water demand has to be
significantly reduced by rationing to the minimum. This will
cause moderate hardship to the victims of drought but
nevertheless the drought is generally quite manageable.

13      Drought Management Options (b) System Improvements

        Another drought management option is by Integrated
Water Resources Management (IWRM) which is an alternative
to dominant sector by sector, top down management system
for managing water in the past. It aims to integrate management
of water resources at the basin or watershed scale, integrating
both supply-side and demand-side approaches as well as
infrastructure system improvements to overcome the problems

of water shortages and drought. It also works on an
intersectoral approach to decision making, improving and
integrating policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks; and
promoting equitable access to water through participatory and
transparent governance. Given the holistic approach, IWRM
takes into consideration several aspects of managing droughts
besides water governance such as water supply and health,
water and agriculture, water and biodiversity, water and energy
and impact reduction and response to droughts. The scope of
IWRM is wide and it is addressed through the integration of
natural and human systems that include integration of different
components of water, integration of water with related land and
environmental resources and, integration of water with social
and economic development. In this way, drought management
can be improved more systematically.

     The    practical   limit   of   surface   water   resources
development has been reached in some regions of high water
demand, and more and more it has become necessary to
improve water infrastructure systems such as implementing
inter-basin or inter-state water transfers. As a result of rural-
urban migration, the urban population in Malaysia has
exceeded 60 % of the total population, and of these, one third
reside in the Klang valley. This development has necessitated
inter-basin transfers from its neighbouring catchments i.e
Sungai Langat in the south and Sungai Selangor in the north.
To meet future demands, the government has envisaged the
implementation of an inter-state water transfer system from
Pahang to Klang Valley to cope with its fast growing water

demand in order to ensure effective drought management in the
long term.
      In early 2005, a large part of West Malaysia again
experienced a prolong dry spell. Low flow frequency analysis of
some major rivers such as Sg. Muda, Sg. Krian, Sg. Johor and
Sg. Kelantan indicate an annual recurrence interval of more
than 20 years. Given the fairly frequent occurrences of
droughts, groundwater resources may need to be further
explored, especially in water stressed and isolated remote
areas such as in highlands and offshore islands for better
drought management. The conjunctive use of both surface and
ground water resources can provide an alternative drought
management system in the event of a severe and prolong

14.   Drought Management Options (c) Emergency Measures

      For the state of Kelantan, during the 2004 and 2005
drought, there have been significant water shortages for both
domestic and agricultural use. The related agencies have tried
their best in maintaining the water supply such as looking for
other sources of water. The Kelantan Agricultural Development
Authority (KADA), which gets most of its irrigation supply from
the Kelantan River to irrigate large paddy areas, has to come up
with a temporary emergency measure by building a sand-bag
weir across the river as their pumps could not function due to
low water levels in the river.

     If drought problems persist even after taking emergency
measures such as surface water pumping, other measures
such as ground water pumping would have to be considered.
Other considerations include conservation by recycling of
water in irrigation areas even though this would affect the
paddy yield. At the mean time, water budgeting/water balance
has to be carried out to work out the fair distribution of limited
water among farmers. During this time, DID will also do a short
forecast of 2 to 4 weeks ahead to anticipate what the situation
will be like should there be no rainfall during that period. Under
very severe drought emergency conditions, DID will shift the
entire planting schedule or provide irrigation for planting
according to compartment by compartment basis only. This is a
drastic drought management option for emergency situations
and it will cause serious economic losses to the farmers.

15   Legislative and Institutional Issues

     Apart from direct flood and drought problems, there are
also indirect problems associated with flood and drought
management, such as the need for appropriate institutions and
legislation. Under the Federal Constitution, matters pertaining
to water, rivers, land, and forest are under the jurisdiction of the
State Governments. They are also responsible for flood and
drought management, including the control of land use along
river corridors to reduce floods, development of urban areas,
forest timber logging and gazetting of water catchments to
preserve water source to overcome drought crisis. Presently,
the need for gazetting of catchment areas that have been

initiated by the Federal agencies do not always get the same
level of support at the State agencies. This may be partly due to
the fact that the water catchment areas are providing State
Governments with much of their state revenue from other uses
such     as   timber    logging    and   industrial   or   township
development. This situation will complicate flood and drought
management in the country.

       Due to the distribution of powers under the Constitution,
the various aspects of flood and drought management are
planned and managed on a sectoral basis with various
government institutions at both federal and state levels being
involved. For example, domestic and industrial water supply is
a state responsibility and thus is managed by the states
through their respective Water Supply Departments, while the
generation of hydro-electric power is a federal responsibility
and is managed by the Ministry of Energy, Water and
Communications. To further complicate matters, irrigation and
drainage, including flood control, is a concurrent responsibility
(both Federal and State government have their roles) and is
managed by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage
operating at both state and federal levels.

       The control of land development, which is closely inter-
related to urban flood management, is managed by the Town
and Country Planning Department, while urban local drainage
regulations    are     managed    by   the   Department    of   Local
Government. The various water-related government agencies
are focused on different and limited aspects of water

management, both excess water (flood) and water shortage
(drought), and there are gaps and overlaps in the jurisdiction of
the various agencies.

     As a result of the serious water shortage crisis of 1997-98,
a National Water Resources Council (NWRC) was established in
1998 to pursue a more effective and integrated water resources
management     which     includes   better   flood   and    drought
management. This Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and
has a membership comprising all State Chief Ministers and a
number of Federal Ministers. It is intended to be a high level
policy   formulating    body   on   integrated   water     resources
management. In 2003, the National Water Resources Council
agreed on the need for the formulation of Integrated River
Basin Management (IRBM) master plans for all the 189 river
basins in the country, albeit on a phased and priority basis.
Such plans would give a holistic and integrated approach to
managing the rivers and its flood and drought problems, thus
making a significant step towards a more effective method of
solving the water problems in this country.

     The political will to improve the management of flood and
drought in this country was instrumental in the re-engineering
of Ministries with the necessary formation of a new ministry on
27 March 2004, i.e. the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment. This will streamline the management of flood and
drought in the long term future.

     Since then, various river basin management studies have
been undertaken to develop water efficiency plans such as the

Sungai Selangor and Sungai Kedah master plans. The master
plans for all the remaining river basins in the country are
expected to be completed over the next two Malaysia Plans.
When that is completed, the management of flood and drought
in this country can be much more effectively done.

16.   Challenges Ahead

16.1 Funding
      A tremendous amount of financial allocation will be
needed to carry out an effective flood and drought management
strategy such as physical infrastructure development. This
includes the construction of large dams, canalization of rivers
and building high capacity sewage treatment plants to restore
polluted rivers back to their original clean water quality
condition. The total allocation received under the Ninth
Malaysia Plan is about RM3.834 billion for the structural flood
mitigation projects in the entire Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and
Sarawak. This amount is only approximately 18% of the original
request which needs to be implemented under the Ninth
Malaysia Plan. The low amount of allocation received will
definitely limit the capacity for implementing the flood
mitigation infrastructure projects currently being planned. Due
to this, many critical projects in severe flood prone areas
throughout the country could not be implemented.
      Even the development of water management master plans
for all the river basins in the country involves a large financial
budget.   State   Governments    cannot    afford   the   cost   of

implementing an effective drought management system without
financial assistance from the Federal Government. Under these
project funding constraints, the implementation of a good flood
and drought management plan in Malaysia is likely to face
many challenges ahead in the foreseeable future.

16.2 Urban Stormwater Management Manual (MSMA)
     Urban       Stormwater        Management     Manual    is   only    a
guideline. DID has no legal authority to enforce the said manual
as mandatory procedure to local authorities, developers,
contractors etc. Most of the drainage master plans have been
carried out using the „old‟ approach. Therefore, the present
proposed development projects are based on those master
plans.   However         a   few     obstacles   surfaced   during      the
implementation process such as:
         i.   Local authorities are facing insufficient technical
              expertise and financial limitation to provide adequate
              maintenance of constructed drainage systems;
         ii. Developers consider the utilization of the manual as

              an increase to the project‟s cost and in turn would
              decrease the profit margin;
         iii. Contractors     find     that   maintenance   of   erosion
              controls and sediment traps are not common works
              to them;
         iv. Consultants – mostly, local consultants, are still very

              weak on the concept of urban stormwater design. In
              turn, the detention ponds are constructed without
              following the guideline.

     In 1999, the Government introduced a set of guidelines to
encourage rainwater harvesting i.e. the collection of rainfall
from roof of buildings to be re-cycled for domestic use, given
that a significant portion of the domestic water consumption
does not require water treated to drinking water quality. In
addition, this will reduce the run-off and thus the frequency and
magnitude of floods. In 2002, the Government also introduced
the installation of 6-liter toilet flushing cisterns in new buildings
to reduce the volume of water required per flush. Individually
the amount of water saved may seem insignificant, but
collectively the total amount will be considerable, especially in
times of serious drought such as the 1998 Klang Valley
drought. Without widespread application of Urban Stormwater
Management Manual guidelines, effective flood and drought
management for urban areas will continue to be hindered.

16.3 Watershed management
     Impacts of land-use changes on flood and drought events
can be both positive and negative, so predictions are hard to
make for a specific watershed. Removal of forest and other
natural cover, and the conversion of land use to agriculture, will
lead to higher flood peaks. Deforestation and other land use
practices can also lead to greater incidences of landslides and
mud flows in addition to increasing incidences of flood and
drought. The greater impact of land use change is associated
with urbanization. The pavement surfaces significantly reduce
infiltration. Natural storage is reduced by rapid disposal
drainage,   and   streams    are   often   constricted    by   other

development or crossing. The most challenging issue is to
coordinate activity from various government agencies and
private sector in managing the watershed. Without proper
watershed management, greater flood and drought disasters
would be happening in future.
       River awareness campaigns have been launched since
1993 to promote public awareness on the need to “bring nature
back to our rivers”. This is an area where everyone can
contribute through joint efforts in the promotion of public
awareness and support for long term sustainable river basin
management to minimize the impact of flood and drought. As
always, it is the most vulnerable people groups who are severely
affected by flood and drought problems such as the children, the
elderly, the indigenous natives and the poor who need to be
given special attention.

16.4         Policies, Strategies and Action Plans
       The development of policies, strategies and action plans
to overcome flood and drought disasters should be based on a
comprehensive integrated approach whereby a wide range of
mitigation measures would be considered.
       (a)     Basin wide planning – Reduction of flood losses and
       risk of drought must be considered using the river basin
       as the basic planning unit. It is essential to have
       knowledge of water users, diversions, storage, and
       management practices in all parts of the basin, as well as
       the antecedent, present, and forecasting meteorological
       and      hydrological   conditions.   Currently,   rivers   are

     managed on political or administrative boundaries which
     does not provide an overall engineering solution.
     (b)     Inter-agency collaboration - Reduction of flood and
     drought losses will involve a number of government
     agencies and often the private sector as well. For
     example, reservoirs for irrigation, water supply and flood
     mitigation have conflicting operational rules. Development
     of common objectives and definition of clear roles for
     each of the stakeholders can be a major challenge.
     The solution to flood and drought problems and the route
to good water management require a great deal of attention,
expertise, cooperation, concerted efforts, capacity building and
financial provisions to succeed. Water laws and perhaps the
Federal Constitution may need to be amended to enable
effective flood and drought management to be implemented. As
mentioned above, the implementation of flood and drought
management action plans in this country involves numerous
government institutions, private organizations and the general
public. Without cooperative integration of all stakeholders,
policies, strategies and action plans would be difficult to
formulate and implement.

16.5 Emergency preparedness and responses
     The most critical element in the set of activities
associated with the flood-loss reduction or drought response is
emergency preparedness and response activity. The response
to   a     natural   disaster   warning   must   be   immediate,
comprehensive, and demonstrate very clear lines of command.

There must also be a mechanism in place to quickly draw upon
external resources available at higher levels of government,
when the local level of response such as the district level is not
     The keys to effective emergency response are precise
advanced planning, ability to mobilize sufficient resources
quickly, good local coordination at site and periodic exercises
to identify weaknesses and problems. Emergency response
must include input from the local community and political
leaders. However, there must be a clear line of authority, even if
the lead disaster management agency changes depending on
the magnitude and type of event. An inventory of resources
must be made available. In the case of flooding, this could
include items such as emergency transport vehicles, buses and
trucks, earth moving equipment, boats, emergency electricity
generators and mobile telecommunication equipment. As for
droughts, mobile pumps and fuel must be readily available at
relevant locations on site to overcome the drying out of crops.
Clean water transport tankers are also necessary to bring
portable water to drought affected water-rationing victims.
     Flood disaster emergencies are generally very sudden, for
example the recent Shah Alam flood on Sunday 26 Febuary
2006, when more than 2,000 flood victims had to run for their
safety suddenly after a rainstorm at 5.00 am in the pre-dawn
morning. The New Klang Valley Expressway and the Malaysian
Commuter Train railway were also suddenly closed at that time
due to the flood. Emergency shelters or evacuation centers
should be designated well in advance of floods, their individual

capacity defined and plans made for obtaining sufficient
supplies of water, food, medicine and clothing. Medical, social
and security assistance should be provided at the evacuation
centers as well. The evacuation routes need to be pre-
determined to facilitate quick transportation of flood victims to
      Advanced flood warning is also a key factor to effective
emergency response. It is possible to set up a series of
warnings in advance of actual extreme storm events that can be
used as alerts. This could start with longer duration lead time
climate forecast that would help identify potential flood danger.

16.6 Climate impacts on extreme events
      A number of studies on the potential impacts of climate
change on flood and drought have been carried out as part of
the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC). These studies indicate potential future increases in
flood peaks of approximately 15% in temperate zones due to
increased storm activity and overall increases in depth of
rainfall. The extent of quantified drought impact in terms of
rainfall deficit is still rather uncertain. However, it is not
possible to predict potential increases in flood peaks or rainfall
deficits in Malaysia at the moment due to potential climate
change for specific river basins with a quantitative degree of
certainty necessary for their incorporation into the design and
planning process for infrastructure construction. As for floods,
the   freeboard   on   flood   mitigation works   can probably
accommodate the potential modifications in weather extremes

due to probable climate change through modified operating
procedures of water control structures.
      A specific research on the issue of climate change impact
with respect to flood peaks and drought rainfall deficits in
Malaysia is vital to ensure preparedness of response, including
the need to build large dams for water storage and review of
existing dam safety measures. This could be done locally with
local universities and research institutions or in collaboration
with international research institutions on climate issues to
ensure better management of flood and drought.

17   Conclusion

     Flood and drought are significant natural disasters in
Malaysia by virtue of its topography and uneven rainfall
characteristics.   Despite the Government's efforts to actively
implement structural flood and drought control measures,
population increase and land use changes have somewhat
aggravated the incidence of flooding in the urban areas and the
severity of droughts in agricultural areas. As such, preventive
non-structural approaches such as the Urban Stormwater
Management Manual provided by DID constitute an effective
and practical means to supplement the structural measures in
reducing the disaster impacts of loss of lives, emotional
trauma, crop and property damage.
     Flood and drought forecasting, warning and response
system are important factors for reducing the risk of loss of life
and economic losses; however, to provide an acceptable

accurate forecast is a still great challenge to the forecaster.
Flood emergencies are often very sudden and advanced
response preparedness is very vital for ensuring safety of
victims‟ lives.
     The country‟s water resources is a national heritage to be
preserved and passed on to the future generations in a good
and sustainable condition to ensure effective long term
management of drought. Water is a critical element for an
improved quality of life and for food production and health care.
Without proper planning and management, water conservation
and efficient use, serious water-related problems like droughts
will recur. Recognition of water as a finite and vulnerable
resource will help contribute towards efforts in managing
droughts effectively among all stakeholders.

3 June 2007