Spring 2015

Work on the Sungai Segamat (Malaysia)

The Segamat River is currently being significantly upgraded. Levees along this river in the south of Malaysia will be raised and its banks, particularly those in bends, will be better protected against erosion. For this purpose TenCate GeoMattress™ and other materials will be used. 

The Segamat is 23 kilometres long, its average width is 14 metres and it flows through the district of the same name in Johor state, in the south of Malaysia. It is a tributary of the Muar River, which drains into the Strait of Malakka. 

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The Segamat (from segar amat, meaning ‘very refreshing’) periodically overflows its banks. This was the case for example in December 2006, (when 515 mm of rain fell in a four-day period), and in January 2007 and January 2011 – a La Niña year. In inhabited areas the bedding had already been widened and levees raised. Both in the town of Segamat and in places further upstream the floods in 2011, however, caused great damage and disruption. Main roads and railways were cut off by the rising water. The water supply had to be withdrawn and some 200 electricity substations shut down. Almost 55,000 people in the district had to be evacuated and accommodated in 104 reception centres.  

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There is little that can be done about the climate, but the same does not apply to the river. In 2013 the Malaysian Drainage & Irrigation Department awarded a contract to improve the 8-kilometre section of the sungai (river) Segamat that ends at the confluence with the Muar. The work involves realignment, the raising of levees, channel widening and river bank erosion protection. This erosion protection work included the use of sand-filled ‘mattresses’ (TenCate GeoMattress™) and erosion control geomats to line the banks.  

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TenCate GeoMattress™ is a double-layered engineered fabric with sandwiched space across its length, for filling with sand. This covers the bank both under and above the surface. It is anchored on the river bed and can allow vegetation to grow over it. This is a green solution and is more economical than the conventional use of rock riprap. There is thus no need for the use of heavy machinery.

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