Flooding in capital city could not have been avoided – City Engineer
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council is not accepting blame for the flooding experienced in the capital city over the weekend, refuting reports from the government that there was a deliberate ploy to inundate the capital.
At a press conference held on Monday, City Engineer Colvern Venture said there was no way to avoid flooding in Georgetown, considering the persistent rainfall experienced over the weekend and the “design of the city.”
“Based on the records I would have seen, the amount of rainfall could not have avoided any flooding in the city. We would have encountered that based on the data we received.”
On the other hand, the Engineer explained that the City Council did prepare and put measures in place to mitigate the expected damage.
An impromptu visit by President Irfaan Ali and a team from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) on Sunday evening to the several drainage pumps in the city revealed that they were either turned off or the koker doors were closed with the pump attendants sleeping.
Venture, however, told the media that “all kokers and pumps in the city” were functional since Saturday and into Sunday; he said that they were opened at 10:00 hrs.
He pointed out that the koker at Lamaha Street was not open due to heavy siltation; however, he said the pump compensated to aid drainage.
“So the records would show that we did open the sluices from yesterday and early on Saturday.”
The City Engineer explained further that before the President and his team began their inspection, he was out prior and all the drainage pumps were functional except for the one located at Cowan Street.
That pump, he stated, developed mechanical issues earlier in the day.
Addressing the concerns of the President as to why the pumps were off, Venture noted that for the koker doors to be opened, the pumps needed to be off to effectively monitor the water levels.
“If you have a significant difference in the level of the water, it will give some amount of strain on the operator in terms of opening so the switching off of the pumps before the opening of the sluice is a normal procedure.”
“So we have not neglected our responsibility, we have been working feverishly within the few days to ensure that we have less water in the city and bring back some amount of normalcy.”
He mentioned too that an investigation has been launched into the reports that the attendants were sleeping at the koker locations.