Heavy Downpours Cause Localized Flooding in Jakarta

Incessant heavy downpours caused flooding in numerous locations across Jakarta on Wednesday 8 January 2014, causing gridlock in many parts of the city and disrupting several commuter train schedules.

The Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) reported that 20 locations had suffered flooding, varying from 10 centimeters to 80 cm, half of which were located in West Jakarta, with traffic on Jl. Mangga Dua Raya paralyzed as the floodwaters reached 50 cm.

Heavy rain also temporarily caused passengers traveling to Jatinegara in East Jakarta to stop at Duri station owing to flooding of railway lines in North Jakarta. Two hours later the service was running again as normal.

BPBD implementation head Bambang Musyawardhana said that, according to his observations, absorption pits that had been constructed in 2013 had performed well in collecting excess water, but they could not address the larger problem — that of clogged sewers.

Last year, the city allocated Rp 2.5 trillion (US$205 million) in the 2013 city budget to fund flood mitigation projects, including dredging projects and the construction of around 2,000 absorption pits. Approximately 70 percent of the pits had been completed by the end of 2013.

The administration also carried out maintenance work on its flood mitigation pumps, readying them to deal with flooding, and started clearing a number of drainage systems which had become clogged.

By the end of 2013, the administration and the central government had commissioned a two-year dredging project in major rivers and some dams, using a $150 million loan from the World Bank. The Public Works Ministry has also finalised project contracts to regulate the flow of the Ciliwung River and construct a tunnel connecting that river with the East Flood Canal (KBT).

It will take several years to complete the first phase of flood mitigation measures in Jakarta, but the lack of flooding in several usually flood-prone areas seems to indicate that they are already beginning to take effect.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast that the rainy season will reach its peak during the second half of January.

Sources: Jakarta Post