City flooding due to perpetual silt, garbage
April 9, 2000
Garbage in the canals, silt in the river and old kokers all contribute to the drainage problems in Georgetown.
According to Philip Allsopp, a private consultant and a member of the Sea Defence Board, these factors along with the tremendous increase of concrete surfaces in the last few years is causing excessive run off. This results in flooding in the city whenever heavy rain falls.
The garbage in the canals, according to Allsopp, has become very noticeable lately although the Sussex Street Canal has always been a problem. This garbage and the crumbling of the parapets due to cars parking on the verge and other activities all slow the movement of water. Since the water can only drain out in the limited time of low tide a build up can occur until the next cycle, Allsopp observed in an interview with Stabroek News.
Even if the canals were to be cleared and were draining properly Allsopp believes that flooding would still take place. The build up of silt at the mouths of the city kokers and under the wharves inhibits the release of water. The silt which is sediment from the riverain areas has accumulated over a number of years and the authorities need to pump it out, Allsopp urged. But he said this would be an expensive task. In the long term, he recommends that a smooth sea wall be built along the Demerara River side of the city. This would stop the silt accumulation as there would not be inlets for it to collect. Additionally, the number of shipwrecks along the coastline should be removed as these help to collect silt. Repairs are also needed to some of the city's kokers.
Stabroek News in attempting to talk to city engineers about the problems and their plans to deal with them, called the City Hall public relations department several times but met with no success.