Mar 16, 2011 News
– Royston King
Flooding after a period of rainfall has become the norm in the city of Georgetown, given the fact that the drainage system only caters to one and a half inches of precipitation over a 24-hour period.
Over the last 96 hours the city had about four inches of rain, Public Relations Officer Royston King revealed yesterday. As a result, many local communities had experienced overtopping. He noted that although the Council regrets the inconvenience caused in the affected areas, the geography and other natural circumstances of the city make even the best efforts of Council to effect proper drainage of the city a serious challenge.
In addition, efforts to address the situation are continually being hampered by the presence of a few fishing boats in the channel of the city’s outfalls at River View, Ruimveldt, and Cowan Street, Kingston, the M&CC official said yesterday. These vessels, he noted, are affecting the free and swift flow of water through the waterways and therefore should be removed.
King revealed that sometime ago, the council had written the relevant authorities on this issue and it was pointed out then that these vessels were restricting the flow of water, in the canals and through the channels. To date, that situation has not been resolved, the PRO lamented.
“Again, the municipality is appealing to the authorities to remove or cause the vessels to be removed. This would assist in the council’s effort to provide for effective and efficient drainage of the city.”
Notwithstanding, King maintained that all of the municipal’s drainage equipment are operable, including all pumps and sluices, in strategic sections of the city. He disclosed that in the first quarter of this year Council carried out desilting works to the Downer Canal and drains in Lodge, Meadow Brook, Lacytown, Agricola, Newtown, Kitty, Cummings Lodge and Bourda at a cost of about $25M.
Also, teams from the City Engineer’s Department continue to work in different communities to clear blockages to drains and ensure the integrity of the drainage system in Georgetown.
“The Council is urging citizens to be vigilant, avoid dumping on parapets and report those who are involved in such negative actions against the environment. Also, citizens should ensure that the surface drains in their yards are clear, free and flowing at all times.”
King emphasised that citizens must be aware of the factors which are affecting effective drainage and by extension, lead to rapid siltation occurring at the mouth of the Demerara River, blocking all of the outfall cannels.
“The indiscriminate dumping of waste, by citizens, in our waterways and alley heads; the increasing phenomenon of squatting in the City, the poor performance of up to 90 percent of the septic tanks in some sections…These have all contributed to the rapid growth of weeds that are blocking the drainage system,” King added.
He pointed out, too, that it is no secret that the Council’s revenue base is too narrow to provide the level of service which the city requires.
Council, according to King, is responsible for the maintenance of 160 miles of roads that are being used by heavy, single-axle vehicles which destroy the fragile surface of most city roads; 800 miles of concrete, earthen drains and alleyways; 12 outfall channels and collection and disposal of waste from citizens, among other areas.
For this reason, King said, the Council is appealing to citizens to help maintain and protect the drainage system of Georgetown.
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