Shantou"s drainage system no match for big rain


    photo from

    (Changping Road was floody after heavy rain photo from

    When heavy rain falls on Shantou, part of the traffic is paralyzed. The drainage system can’t work well. Rainwater mixed with sewage floods the roads, the traffic stops, and the lives of many people living in areas of low elevation are disrupted.

    “I moved here in the late of 1980s. Since then, I have had to worry about big rains when the rain seasons come or thunderstorms arrive,” said Huang Chun Hao, a shopkeeper selling electrical devices for household in Hua Wu street. During heavy rainfall at night he does not sleep. He worries about his belongings and whether he needs to move them up to a higher floor.

    Shantou was a coastal city, facing the South China Sea, with plenty of rainfalls every year, but sometimes the gift of water turns into a nightmare for Huang.

    “The rain seasons here last several month, from April to September, when storms constantly hit. The situation become worse when you are living in one of the lowest parts of the city and the drainage system can’t work well,” he said.

    All of the shelves in Huang’s shop have an extension of 20 centimeters long. “The shelves are specially made in order to prevent the devices are inundated,” said Huang. In order to decrease the loss, Huang also keeps some buckets prepared on the first floor to take water out of his shop.

    He has lived in Hua Wu street for over 15 years and got used to the situation. But life is improving. In the last two years, the drainage system on Shan Zhang Road has improved and bigger pipes replaced the old narrow ones. They often get clogged and, as a result, break.

    According to several residents in Hua Wu street, the water’s depth can reach up to one meter or more in a short time. As soon as heavy rainfall arrives, they have to stop working because the traffic stops. No one goes out to shop or do any other business.

    Li Shaolin, runs a clothing shop for over 10 years in the Walking Street, an area at a higher elevation than Huang’s home. Although the rain brings less damage, she said, “The whole family won’t sleep if a big rain comes, in preparing to move clothing to a safe place.” Her shop does not have a doorstep and is lower than street level.

    The Walking street drainage system is now being upgraded, to be replacing by bigger pipes. That will ease the pressure of the drainage system here, but on the contrary, that of in the Hua Wu street will bear even more pressure. All the water come from the higher place in the future will run through the small and old pipe in Hua Wu street, according to Huang.
    The Shantou Facility Repairing and Arranging Bureau is in charge of the drainage system of the city. Zheng Junran, a bureaucrat there, said his office had not found any problems with the drainage in Hua Wu street.

    “Last time, we did a research there. But I didn’t find the situation you said in Hua wu street,” he said.

    “Upgrading drainage system is a big project. Every year, we just have a budget of 2 or 3 million (yuan). Until now, our Bureau doesn’t have any special plan to upgrade the drainage system in Hua Wu street, “ Zheng said.

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    Xie Fengyi