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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ashghal gears up for Qatar rains with preparedness plan

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As part of a coordinated effort to better handle rainfall in Qatar, the country’s public works authority has outlined a detailed plan for rain emergencies.

The announcement comes as Qatar enters the “Wasmi” season, a two-month period of increased rainfall.

Though Doha hasn’t seen any rain yet, there has been some precipitation in other parts of the country this month. And forecasters said rainfall should be coming soon.

Writing in the Gulf Times this week, Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist for Al Jazeera, said:

“As we head towards the end of the year, the chance of showers increases. If you are planning an outdoor dinner or picnic, then it might be worth keeping an eye on the weather forecast.

We might not see the temperatures suddenly drop to freezing like they do in other parts of the world, but a sandstorm or a heavy downpour could still make an unwelcome appearance.”

Plan details

As part of the rainfall preparedness plan, Ashghal is developing an operations management center to handle rain-related problems.

It is also conducting simulation training, and hundreds of its employees as well as those from theMinistry of Municipality and Environment (MME) employees are signed up to receive notifications ahead of potential rainfall.

Additionally, the works authority said it will increase call center response, double-check electricity generators and other equipment for readiness and shorten their distribution time when needed.

Finally, maintenance of Qatar’s 45,000 manholes and numerous tunnel pumping stations has been ongoing.

And Ashghal and the MME are working to support areas with no rain drainage networks on managing overflow.

Better system

In the past few years, Qatar’s infrastructure has been especially hard-hit by heavy rains.

Last November, a torrential downpour wrought havoc across the country, causing several school and mall closures, as well as flooding at the airport and in some government buildings.

Flooding near Ramada signal in November 2015.
Flooding near Ramada signal in November 2015.

An investigation was launched into why Qatar was so unprepared for the rain, but the results have not been publicly disclosed yet.

Earlier, in 2014, Ashghal and the contractor working on the new Salwa Road underpasses were blamed for massive flooding and ensuing traffic chaos in March of that year.

To help prevent such issues from reoccurring, Ashghal has been using a new monitoring system for the last six months.

The technology keeps track of ground and surface water drainage networks across Qatar in real time, helping the authority determine which drainage networks need attention when water levels get too high.

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