Last update: 11-Dec-2013 10:53 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Singh to get report on Diego flooding
Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh is expected to receive a report today from a multi-disciplinary committee established to address the perennial flooding problems in Diego Martin. He said so yesterday as he commissioned the Covigne Road Water Improvement Project at Upper Covigne Road, Diego Martin. It was done by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) which falls under Singh's portfolio.
The cost of the project was $4.1 million and 1,210 people would now benefit of a pipe-borne water supply for the first time, Singh said. Former Groovy Soca Monarch and resident of the area, Michelle Sylvester, praised the Government in song for the initiative. Before her performance she recalled having “to tote” water from the nearby river to her home. Other residents, such as Selma McDavid, said the many residents got water from the river before they received the water supply.
“We used to come here, carry the water on our heads to our homes to do our household chores, such as washing, cooking. After we wash, a whole week to bring our clothes here to rinse our clothes and so forth,” she added. Former Minister of Public Utilities Emmanuel George, who was the minister when the residents asked for help to get a more regular supply, thanked the residents for their patience over the years.
He said waterlines were laid by the PNM administration in 2007, before the election, and that nothing was ever done. George said a promise was made to get water to the residents and that Singh, then CEO of WASA and its district manager, north-west, Dereck Hooker were the ones responsible for getting the project going.
On the flood alleviation plan, Singh said the team comprised geo-technical engineers, structural persons from the university and from the private sector whose mandate was to resolve the problem in the Diego Martin catchment area and identify works that would inform how the ministry proceeds. Asked if residents’ call for an overhaul of Diego Martin's drainage had been considered, Singh said he was awaiting the report.
“But they must also realise that when they call for a complete overhaul it may mean the relocation of people,” he added, “because you cannot live on the banks of the river and expect the river not to overflow its banks.” He said at the moment, the ministry’s approach would be to desilt the watercourses as well as walling several areas where the watercourses ran.
Singh also criticised residents who littered the watercourses with debris, such as old electrical appliances, and spoke on unplanned construction on the river's edge as contributory factors to flooding the area. “People build on the edge of the river and there is no way you can even put machinery in that. It is a complex issue but it can be resolved with a series of infrastructural development, with a series of investment in the area,” he added.
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