Chile's public works ministry (MOP) has earmarked 12bn pesos (US$26mn) for maintenance works on rainwater drainage systems in 2011.
The ministry will monitor critical points during the upcoming rainy season, particularly areas where floodwater from canals and rivers could damage road or housing infrastructure, according to public works minister Hernán de Solminihac.
During an inspection of sewerage maintenance work carried out by national sanitation service authority SISS, the minister called on residents to avoid causing floods by clogging drains with garbage, MOP said in a release.
"Our main enemy is our own behavior. Just one twig in a drain can create a blockage and cause several blocks to flood," de Solminihac said.
The public works minister also warned residents not to open manhole covers to try and clear flooded streets, as this could lead wastewater to mix with floodwater, causing a public health hazard.