Siltation of the Mongrippa Creek in Bartica has been cited as the major cause of recent heavy flooding and work is underway to deal with the problem.
Two weeks ago, thunderstorms that lasted for around two hours deluged Bartica’s commercial zone between Fourth and Ninth streets.
Residents and business owners of the Cuyuni/Mazaruni community suffered millions in damage and it was first thought that the cause of the flood was the negligence of the recently-elected town council after the opening of a koker.
However, a report by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has found otherwise. Acting on a request by Bartica Mayor Gifford Marshall to the CEO of the NDIA, Frederick Flatts, a site visit was conducted on September 13 to assess the cause of the flooding.
The visit found that the Mongrippa Creek, which is an earthen drain that is larger than the other drains in the town, was heavily silted and a section of a culvert had collapsed and was restricting the flow of water. In addition, the culverts were silted up and there was no storage area to handle the storm water. It was also found that the concrete roadside drains were small and did not have the capacity to accommodate the runoff water during the high tide.
The report recommended that the Mongrippa Creek be rehabilitated with a long-reach excavator and the removal of the concrete blockage.
It added that the earthen roadside drains need to be excavated and all the debris removed immediately. The culverts and other concrete drains also need to be manually cleared and a seepage at the sluice that is located at First Avenue and Sixth Street should be immediately fixed along with the section of the collector drain that has collapsed.
Marshall told Stabroek News yesterday, “the report has shown that we have some poor infrastructure” that we have to correct and the challenge is that we inherited it and we have to make it a priority to go ahead and ensure that it [severe flooding] does not occur again.”
He pointed out that works have already started with desilting of the drains and all the recommendations will be followed. “We have started with the help of the Ministry of Communities and the NDIA will be sending some resources towards the cleaning of the outfalls,” he said, pointing out that it is the aim of the council to maintain the rehabilitation works.
“The main thing is that we have started and the Ministries of Agriculture and Communities are monitoring. It’s not a situation to be rushed and we just want it to be done properly so all we will have to do in the future is to maintain them,” he said.
“The Mayor and Councillors wish to assure residents that while we inherited very poor drainage networks we will ensure that the necessary corrective infrastructure measures are applied at the soonest to avoid the recurrence of the recent flood,” he added.
Residents were elated that efforts were being made to ensure that such a “catastrophe” does not occur again.
“Well we can only wait now and see what happens but we can all see that they are cleaning. It hasn’t rained enough for there to be a flood since so we just have to wait and see what happens,” John Adams, a resident, told Stabroek News yesterday.