Minister of Development Inaugurates New Dredging Project
Heavy downpours are expected to hit the Sultanate more frequently as we approach the forthcoming monsoon season.
In preparation for the rainy season, which may cause flooding, His Majesty’s government through the Public Works Department under the Ministry of Development has deployed a specialised sophisticated dredger machine in several major channels at the Menglait and Kedayan rivers in order to maximise the capacity of coping with floodwater.
The IMS Dredger, the first of its kind to be used in Brunei, is part of the Public Works department’s effort to alleviate flooding by using and applying new technologies. The new machine which comes from a local company, Nur Tharwan Sdn Bhd, is currently deployed for operations at the Menglait river near The Mall in gadong, dredging out silts and rubbish from the river.
After finishing the project at the Menglait river, The IMS Dredger will also be deployed to another three dredging projects that are along the Kedayan river. All four projects will cost around one million dollars and will take five to six months.Under the conventional way of dredging, the long arm of the tractor is parked stationary at the riverbank or at the barge, which will be used to dredge out silt from the river or huge drainage. The new machine is easily transportable, highly maneuverable, easy to control and versatile in terms of removing various kinds of blockages including weeds and rubbish.
In an interview with the Bulletin, Mr Young Chee Yen, the Director of Drainage and Sewerage at the Public Works Department said, “It’s the first time we are using a specialised equipment to alleviate floods since our department, drainage and sewerage department is responsible for flood alleviation. We also recognized that sometimes, drains commonly get silted up from developmental activities and rubbish so the drainage capacity of handling floodwater or high tide is reduced.”
“We always welcome and keep an open mind to new technologies. We are also evaluating the methods of operating the new machine whilst giving us the opportunity to personally observe its functionality. We also want to monitor whether the new machine is able to dredge in the rivers effectively especially if the river is wide.”
When asked on the idea behind using the dredging, he highlighted, “We want to keep the capacity of the drainage system to the maximum capacity to drain out water and to clean up the drain so that it can function efficiently especially during heavy rain and high tide.”
In addition to its efficient dredging system, the advantage of the new machine is also to filter out rubbish from the sand, allowing it to become reusable for other projects.
Using this system, he said, “The sand collected from the drainage at Sungai Menglait are due to developmental activities. The rubbish is being separated from the sand so as to allow it to become reusable in the end.”
On the frequency of dredging, he said, “We have to monitor how frequent we will need to dredge the river or drains. If there is a requirement for regular dredging, we will try to request for necessary budget for further dredging.”
The Public Works Department also would like to advise river users to keep a reasonable distance from the dredger and floating discharge hose although the dredging activity normally does not pose any additional danger to people using the river.
A demo of the new machinery was witnessed by Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, the Minister of Development yesterday. Also in attendance were senior officials from the ministry.
Reprinted from Borneo Bulletin