M&CC must properly manage drainage structures – Agri minister

…as sections of Georgetown flooded due to heavy downpours

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, along with officials from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), on Friday visited the sluices located at Cowan Street, Commerce Street, and at River View to assess their operations as several parts of the City experienced flooding due to heavy rainfall.
Although reports have suggested that all of the structures were operable, many parts of the City had experienced instances of flooding for most of Friday.
Residents who reside close to the River View sluice reported that their homes were flooded. They claimed that the operator who is responsible for operating the sluice did not respond to the situation promptly, which resulted in the flooding.
One resident who met with the Minister said he had been bailing water from his property for most of Friday morning.

One of the flooded streets in Georgetown

While speaking with media operatives, Minister Mustapha said that although all of the sluices and pumps appeared to be operable, residents reported that there was a delay in the opening of some of the sluices, which contributed to the flooding.
“From around midnight last night to early this morning, we’ve had about four inches of rain, which resulted in a number of areas being flooded. That’s why I decided to visit some of these sluices, to see what can be done to drain the City as soon as possible. We have three engineers who normally check to ensure these structures are fully functional, but (they) are often faced with difficulties, because some of the gates are usually locked and our officers are not granted access to monitor these structures,” he explained.
“While at River View, residents complained that the structures were not operable last night, which contributed to the entire area being flooded,” Mustapha noted.
Minister Mustapha also disclosed that a larger drainage pump is currently being installed at the Commerce Street pump station, to facilitate more effective drainage in that area. He also called on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council to better monitor the structures, so that flooding can be minimised.
“I hope that the City Constabulary can better monitor the City’s sluices and pumps. They need to ensure the operators assigned to these structures are consistent and open these sluices on time. A few months ago, the President himself, during an assessment of several structures in the City, discovered that pumps were off while operators assigned to operate those structures were sleeping. This remains a cause for concern, because, when flooding occurs, residents are inconvenienced,” the Minister explained.

Minister Mustapha while inspecting the pump located at Commerce Street

“Now that the Christmas season is here, a lot of people are conducting business in this part of Georgetown, so I am hoping that effective drainage is maintained. The NDIA has also given a lot of help to the City Council to get these areas drained, so it is now up to the Council to effectively manage these structures so that we can have proper drainage whenever there are instances of heavy rainfall,” the Minister noted.
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council have primary responsibility for monitoring and maintaining the drainage structures in the City.