Deputy Mayor leads tour to highlight city drainage problems

Guyana Chronicle
May 10, 2007

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DRAINAGE IMPROVEMENT: clearing a drain in the city.

DEPUTY Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Robert Williams yesterday morning led a tour of the city to highlight its drainage problems.

During the exercise, the media were present as the officials inspected drainage canals, pumps and current works being done at a cost of $200M.

Williams and others from the municipality first visited the John Fernandes Canal in Water Street, where a key drainage pump is operating.

Williams explained that the waterway is serving Bourda, Lacytown and parts of Cummingsburg, Queenstown and Alberttown.

He said the flow originates from North Road along Merriman’s Mall and continues, passing outside Bank of Guyana, all the way to the sluice which is operated according to the tides.

Williams said the John Fernandes canal also drains water from North Road, Lacytown to Bourda and from alleyways along Charlotte Street, Regent Street and Robb Street into the Demerara River.

He said a grill in front of the canal on Water Street was installed to prevent plastics and styrofoam materials from getting beyond and into the impellers.

When the plastics reach there, they can create a blockage as was evident yesterday, Williams pointed out.

At the time, the water level beyond the grill was lower than in front of it and the plastics and styrofoam slowed the rate at which it should go into pump.

As that often happens, someone is employed all day to scoop up all the plastics regularly, Williams reported.

He said that problem is a burden because City Hall has to pay for that employment and bear the expense to transport the cleared refuse.

Williams said, if the water is allowed to flow freely devoid of garbage, sections of the city will not be flooded when it rains or tides are high.

But he warned that, if it is proven that the bottles and plastics are the result of vending, the vendors will be prevented from selling at the location.

Williams emphasised the importance of the John Fernandes Canal and said, when it is clogged, sometimes the grill has to be lifted out of place totally and refixed and, on occasions, the impeller must be repaired.

At Cummingsburg, major desilting is being undertaken because the area was not maintained last year, like Lacytown and Bourda, among others.

Williams said some 600 cases of littering are in the Magistrates’ Courts, together with others for offences like failing to have garbage receptacles.

He said the matters are not being disposed of fast enough and the slow movement of the prosecution is causing City Constabulary ranks to spend a lot of time in courts when they could be executing other duties.

Williams said the municipality has been pleading for a ticketing system, through which offenders can plead guilty and sign a ticket like for traffic offences and do not have to go to court.

But legislation for it has to be included in local government reform.

Assistant City Engineer, Mr. Colvern Venture, who was in the touring party, said the work in progress at Tucville is to rectify the situation at a blocked culvert that led to flooding in that ward.

He said the problem was due to revetment done by residents who have cast concrete drains higher than the drainage structures.

Venture said notices have been sent to inform those at fault that higher bridges which impede the free flow of water will be dismantled.

He said, if persons do not have approval for the constructions, they will face the consequences.