Drainage study consultants get first-hand view of flooding
-say some outfall channels need to be dredged
Stabroek News
January 20, 2004

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The consultancy firm engaged in an expensive drainage study had a first-hand look at key infrastructure during the floods earlier this month and preliminarily has noted the need for some outfall channels to be dredged.

The Drainage and Irrigation (D&I) assessment is being done as part of a $262M study in several regions by British consultancy firm Mott McDonald. The firm was contracted to look at the existing system and where necessary suggest methods to strengthen them.

Its representative Robert Davey told Stabroek News on Friday that topographic surveys done in several of the Region Four (Demerara/ Mahaica) communities under its scope of review will soon be "plotted up" and calculations made. This will allow for an assessment of the capacity of current structures including their ability to perform the work for which they have been constructed, Davey said.

It was however his belief that in some of the areas the lack of maintenance of canals and drains along with some non-functioning pumps combined to aggravate the level of flooding.

This, according to the consultant, was the case in Golden Grove where apart from some pumps not being in operation there may be a need to dredge some of the outfall channels. Engineers attached to the study visited several of the areas flooded recently.

The study being done by the British firm is intended to determine if the present D&I system is adequate or if there is a need to have these remodelled.

According to Davey, the firm is also expected to make recommendations suggesting rehabilitative works as necessary, including how these should be operated and maintained in the future.

He however said that it would not be viable to simply put a system in place to deal with abnormally heavy rainfall.

The recent situation was exceptional and at such times there will always be the likelihood of flooding since the D&I system could never be designed to cater for this, Davey said.

The UK consultant did however acknowledge that in some of the areas which were recently flooded there may be a need to increase the size of the outfall channels, while also reviewing the capacity of their pumps.

Mott McDonald, through the Inter-American Development Bank, was selected to review D&I structures in several areas including Black Bush Polder in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), Cane Grove, Victoria and Golden Grove in Region Four and several areas in Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara). It is expected to consult with stakeholders and others.