Several sections of Georgetown flooded despite $163M drainage works

Despite spending some $163 million earlier this year to facilitate drainage works in Georgetown to prepare for the rainy season, the capital city was again covered by floodwaters on Monday morning following hours of heavy downpour.
Guyana Times visited several sections of the capital city, where it was observed that vending was not taking place in a few areas owing to the floodwaters.
At several locations, vendors complained bitterly that every time it rained the streets become flooded and their businesses were affected although they pay their taxes to City Hall.
They protested that not only did the floodwaters affect them financially, they posed a health threat and made their working environment uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, the few customers who braved the weather were seen in their long boots and rain coats/umbrellas to ensure that their bills were paid among other things.
The massive drainage works project was announced by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) back in April.
The NDIA had said that the project would increase the drainage capacity and significantly reduce flooding throughout the capital city.
Three high-capacity mobile drainage pumps were set to be installed at Church Street, Sussex Street, and Ruimveldt to assist in reducing the occurrence of flooding.
The NDIA officials stated that contracts were approved for the cleaning of the city’s drainage channels, with manual cleaning operations totalling $71.9 million and mechanical cleaning operations totalling $91.6 million.
“In 2019, NDIA will be responsible for 93,421 metres of main drainage canals in Georgetown, including the Downer/Liliendaal Pump Station Drain, South Road, and Ruimveldt North and South among others. An allocation of GY$274 million will be spent on Georgetown drainage for 2019,” Agriculture Minister Noel Holder said.
The decision to have NDIA commence drainage works in Georgetown followed the recommendations of a Cabinet sub-committee meeting, which was chaired by the Agriculture Minister and also included Ministers of Public Infrastructure and Communities.
A study conducted by a European firm, Vivid Economics had found that some $1.3 billion is lost every year in Georgetown as a result of flooding.
The lead consultant from the agency, Charlie Dixon, shared a few findings during his presentation, which indicated that not only was the vast sum a cause for concern presently but in years to come, as it was expected to increase significantly with oil production.
Dixon said, “At the present day, the risk of flooding is expected in the wider Georgetown area to cause around $1.3 billion of damage every single year…so then as we look to 2040, looking into the future as climate change worsens and we expect these flooding effects to become more impactful, that number rises by … about a factor of four, so expected damage … [is] about $4 billion.”

An inundated section of Main Street, Georgetown