DT News: Does the ministry have any plans to benefit from or recycle the excavated rainwater?
Eng. Khalaf: The storm water is usually discharged in the sea and other areas. We had attempted to inject it in the under- ground water in a couple of sites across the Kingdom. But recycling also is only done if strict rules are followed. The Supreme Council for the Environment had some environ- mental reservations in regards to this process as they had some concerns over water pollution suspicions, hence the processes were stopped and further discussions are in progress. But, we utilise it in irrigation purposes.
We have more work and effort to be implemented in the field of rainwater drainage and recycling. Yet, we have managed to considerably reduce the negative effects of this issue on the public by taking the necessary precautionary measures and procedures ahead of the rainy season.
The ministry has offered more tenders to provide tanks and containers to excavate the excessive water from roads and public areas. We have also upgraded the vacuum tankers and provided them with additional pumps to accelerate the process of excavating the water, that’s in addition to installing pumps at vital areas and roads to move the water to open areas and ensure that the daily life isn’t affected.
DT News: What are the main challenges the ministry is facing in tackling the rainwater flooding issue?
Eng. Khalaf: One of the biggest challenges we face during the rainy seasons is the uncivil behaviour of some people who remove the covers of sewage manholes and allow the rainwa- ter to enter and mix with the sewerage network.
This is a grave matter as such behaviour disrupts and dam- ages the networks. The rainwater, with all its sediments, damages the pumps and other equipment of the sewerage network. This results in the rebound of the sewerage inside homes and other facilities. Such cases were reported recently, as the pumps were damaged and unable to move the sewer- age to the treatment plant. We repeatedly warn the public
of the dangerous effects of such behaviours by raising more awareness on the matter through different platforms.
It’s noteworthy that we have also fulfilled all the requests that were received by municipal councils from citizens this year to install rainwater roof coatings to prevent any leakages inside homes, especially those belonging to the limited and medium income citizens.
DT News: What are the efforts taken to reduce the increasing traffic congestions on the Kingdom’s roads?
Eng. Khalaf: The infrastructure and urban growth is notice- ably expanding in the country. The growing economy and the numbers of construction permits being issued is also rising. Of course all of these factors increase the pace of transporta- tion, reflected in the growing numbers of vehicles on the roads.
In Bahrain, we have an annual growth in traffic movement of five to seven percent. The ministry is working on developing a network of strategic roads and a number of big projects are underway. They’re mostly funded either through the state budget or the GCC Marshall Plan.
The in-hand projects are worth around USD1.2 billion, but they require time to be completed. For this reason, as directed by the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First
Deputy Prime Minister HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the ministry has adopted a plan to implement smaller projects that have a visible impact on the alleviation of the traffic congestions issue.
We have commenced executing these projects on several stages. The first stage includes 11 projects to open new entries, exits and intersections. Eight of them were recently completed in all four governorates. This plan received a positive interac- tion from motorists as it effectively contributed to the reduc- tion of traffic jams.
The second stage of the plan will include 16 projects that will be soon announced.
DT News: As we speak about traffic jams, what is the work progress of the much-anticipated fourth bridge connecting Manama and Muharraq?
Eng. Khalaf: This is one of the most prominent projects being currently implemented by the ministry and is financed by the GCC Marshall Plan. It is part of the Muharraq Ring Road project and connects the northern parts of the Capital, Bahrain Bay and Busaiteen reaching to Diyar Al Muharraq.
We have set a budget of USD250 million for the project. Tenders have been offered for the reclamation process and it’s currently in the evaluation phase. We are hoping that the tender for the construction process would be offered by the first half of 2018.
A state-of-the-art design has been approved by the Prime Minister HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. The project would be ready by the year 2020.
The evening themed ‘Yaadein: A Walk Down The Memory Lane’, was a grand show in which students of Class XI presented a variety of cultural programmes along with interesting games. The Grade XII students shared their anecdotes of the time spent in school with the juniors and their beloved teachers. It was a nostalgic moment, the memories of which will be cherished for a lifetime.