A new study shows that the Southeast Asian region is particularly prone to flooding due to the low-lying elevation of most of the countries. The situation is predicted to get worse, with more intense rain predicted in the coming decades.
The sustainability-focused social enterprise Eco-Business Research has released a report called; Flood controls in Southeast Asia. The study, which is sponsored by Grundfos, surveyed 417 sustainability industry leaders across Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Respondents throughout the region agreed that there had been significant changes to the climate and weather in recent years with the majority indicating that average temperatures had become higher with monsoons or seasons being less predictable. Over 69 per cent of respondents also agreed that it was only going to get worse in the next decade.
Climate change was cited by the paper as being the main cause of predicted increased incidences of flooding in the region. Higher average temperatures are predicted to bring increased sea levels, which is problematic to the low lying coastal areas of Southeast Asia. The higher temperatures are also predicted to increase the intensity of rainstorms.
A wake-up call
The paper considers some of the historical factors that have attributed to the region’s vulnerability to flooding as well as looking at some of the innovative solutions that have been put in place by governments in the region to protect their citizens. Tim Hill, who is Research Director for Eco-Business Research, says: “It was a wake-up call to hear that the majority of people surveyed believed flooding was going to get worse and how much damage that could cause to livelihoods in the region.
While countries across Southeast Asia are at various implementation stages of their water management and flood control systems, looking ahead there is opportunity to adopt a more coordinated approach both at a national and regional level.”
Action is needed
The study calls for a regional approach to flood management, urging governments to communicate their best practice initiatives and establish frameworks for prevention and protection. Respondents across the region also point to insufficient action taken at consumer levels, urging greater investment in education and outreach programmes to transform the environmental habits of citizens and businesses.
Okay Barutçu, Group Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Grundfos Asia Pacific Region, explains that many different stakeholders need to take action, because expertise in flood management is rather patchy. “The urgency of the situation calls for greater collaboration between all stakeholders, including government, corporates, communities and citizens,” he says and continues.“Green urban designs, storm water management integrated into a clear 'rivers policy' and recycle/reuse of initiatives together with intelligent pumping and treatment solutions utilizing smart sensing, analysis and control technologies is clearly the way forward.
”This whitepaper was launched at the Grundfos Malaysia Expo in Kuala Lumpur on August 3, 2017 in the presence of Government authorities, Grundfos Water Utilities stakeholders and media. Similar launch events are scheduled in Singapore and Indonesia in the near future.
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