Regarding the recent flash flood in Kampot, my rain gauge registered 12 centimetres of rain. Considering that large amount (Phnom Penh gets 30 centimetres in all of September, its rainiest month) fell in just two hours, flooding was inevitable, even if the system were well-maintained.
The city, however, has recently made matters worse by adding additional pavement. Impervious surfaces, where water can not seep into the ground, add to runoff and reduce the amount of water that can be absorbed by the land.
For instance, the front-page picture associated with the article (“Kampot flood blamed on clogged drain pipes”, The Phnom Penh Post, February 24) was taken on River Road. The public space between the street and river was recently improved, and in the process an area that was almost all grass was turned into almost all pavement. It was very nicely done and is thoroughly enjoyed by the people but certainly increases runoff and the chance of flooding.
To sum up: In addition to excessive pavement – not actually needed for traffic – being costly, ugly and constricting sidewalk area, it also has the drawback of adding to flooding problems and should be avoided.
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