Arab News – Many cities in the Kingdom have experienced catastrophes as a result of heavy rains and floods which resulted in deaths as well as significant damage to both public and private property.
In Jeddah, despite billions spent by the state on infrastructure, a number of residential and other buildings were built in valleys due to faults in urban planning. Other problems resulted from the implementation of infrastructure projects and the lack of networks for sewage and stormwater.
During recent years, the same problem has been repeated in every rainy season and the problems manifest themselves from city to city, leaving a trail of loss and damage.
Fares Al-Enzi, an academic at Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz University, said that the stormwater drainage problems experienced by a number of cities in the Kingdom were the result of not considering the city’s planning as an integrated whole.
He said the non-implementation of infrastructure projects in an integrated and parallel manner to include stormwater drainage, sanitation asphalting, lighting, electricity and water produced a number of catastrophic problems.
Al-Enzi said that real estate developers were not forced to include stormwater drainage system. In addition, they construct buildings in the flood courses which produce both present and future problems.
He called for immediate solutions and plans to deal with the dangers in the valleys . He said there should be cooperation between universities, Saudi Aramco and King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). They need to study the problem and come up with solutions.
Eid bin Ramal, a faculty member at Hail University, said there were many reasons for stormwater drainage problems, including failure in the implementation quality, the absence of stormwater drainage networks, and the delay in the implementation of flood drainage in general in the Kingdom’s cities and governorates.
He suggested the formation of a committee to review the situation in these cities and their need for rainwater drainage projects commensurate with the the floods, along with taking precautions for new neighborhoods to avoid such problems.
Mansour Al-Arfaj, chairman of the Qassim Municipal Council, said that the flooding problems resulted from violating the nature of the valleys within cities, explaining that the intervention in the development of urban areas in contravention of the structure of the valleys has greatly affected the cities of the Kingdom, exposing them to problems resulting from heavy rainfall.
He said that flood studies and methods of project implementation need to be reviewed through a flood specialized strategy for each city, taking into account previous errors and observations.

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