THA approves flood mitigation and drainage study

In this September file photo, workers from the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment clear debris before placing steel at a drainage project in Mt Irvine recently. FILE PHOTO -
In this September file photo, workers from the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment clear debris before placing steel at a drainage project in Mt Irvine recently. FILE PHOTO -

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Executive Council has approved a proposal for a flood mitigation and drainage infrastructure upgrade study for the entire island.

The Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment (DIQE), in a press release, said its engineers have been occupied trying to resolve the drainage challenges. It said the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDECOTT) has been engaged to undertake the initiative.

DIQE senior technical co-ordinator, Abdallah Chadband, “This study will seek to analyse and secure all of the island’s drainage and flood mitigation structures and will depict cost for short, medium and long-term solutions."

Chadband said the division's technical team has noted the calamitous impact of Tropical Storm Karen in 2019 and also recent weather systems. He said a period of unusually intense rainfall and high tides around October 8 were contributing factors to landslides and flash flooding on the island.

The Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) reported approximately 17 landslides in communities from Mason Hall through to Lanse Fourmi, with six being major. Flash flooding occurred in areas in and around Roxborough, Canaan and Bon Accord.

After TS Karen, the emergency restoration program was created to rectify all critical failures in the island’s built environment. To date, several restoration projects have been completed such as the Sandy River (Mason Hall) landslip, Fort Granby retaining wall, Fairbanks Roadway retaining wall and drainage, Easterfield Road soil retention system, King Peters Bay Road soil retention system, Hooglie Bush retaining walls, George Street (Canaan) drainage upgrade, to name a few.

DIQE said it is confident that when this study is completed, more innovative ways to improve the current systems will emerge.

The division advised the public to remain vigilant during the periods of October and November, as they are usually the two most flood-prone months locally.

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