Mar 21, 2016 News
– due to countrywide drainage works
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson has expressed confidence that the ongoing drainage works in the city and around the country will be enough to fend off any flooding arising from the traditional May/June downpours.
Speaking to Kaieteur News yesterday, Patterson recalled that over the past few months, a lot of ground work has been covered by his Ministry and City Council. He also noted that an early example of the city’s preparedness for flooding was shown late last year, when there was some heavy rainfall but little flooding resulted.
Patterson acknowledged that there were some areas in Georgetown, for instance in Subryanville, where work is still to be completed. He also noted that some culverts had to be cleared. However, the Minister was confident that this work could be wrapped up within the next month or two.
He also related that the reports he has gotten from the National Task Force, which is present on the ground in all ten Administrative Regions, have indicated a favorable level of preparedness. The National Task Force Commission is headed by Major General (retired) Joe Singh and one of its committees, the National Drainage Committee, was created to look specifically at the problem.
At the launch of the task force in June of 2015, Patterson had explained that its works were not intended to be “a solution to our drainage problem (but) an attempt to ensure that should there be another period of high rainfall that the time taken to reduce the flooding or get the water out of the city will be reduced.”
The city wide clearing work had started almost immediately after the coalition government came into office, to alleviate the flooding resulting from the 2015 May/June rains. The rains had caused several areas in Georgetown and its environs to be under water for almost three days.
Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Walter Willis had revealed that one of the major challenges was the occupation of the reserves. He had stated that the reserves were taken over with derelict vehicles, vending and residents on the reserves. Willis had reported that this matter was raised with the Minister and would be addressed in 2016.
Also in 2015, the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) from the Netherlands had arrived in Guyana and spent days analyzing Guyana’s drainage system. The team included Team Leader, Rob Steijn; Social Scientist, Judith Klostermann; and Civil Engineer, Fokke Westebring. Their trip involved a flyover of Guyana as well as a dozen interviews with local officials.
Afterwards, Steijn had reported key considerations and preliminary recommendations to the Government, including the need for an upgrade of Guyana’s drainage on both a technical and managerial level.
He had also expressed the need for Guyana’s water system to be addressed, while expressing that short-term improvements, such as small-scale dredging, were possible. Steijn had also added that the issue must be attacked on all levels, from the planning stage right up to the enforcement of legislation. He said too that an integrated approach involving all stakeholders was necessary.
His team’s preliminary recommendations had then been presented; these included the increase of flood resilience for people and businesses; upgrade of dredging capabilities and improvement of flow efficiency; develop long-term plans; develop and apply a life cycle approach for the drainage assets; and also data management through digitization.
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