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Holetown ready for rains


Holetown ready for rains

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The Atlantic hurricane season starts in two days and it is projected to be a fierce one. One of the concerns will be how well our drainage system in known flood-prone areas will handle any major rainfall. In this, the second of a three-part series, we examine what has been done to mitigate against flooding in Holetown,  St James. by Lisa King HOLETOWN HAS NOT always been as prone  to flooding as it is today. This is according to  77-year-old Ernest Headley, who has been living in Holetown  for more than 59 years. “In my early lifetime, Holetown would never be flooded. This started after all the construction  in the area,” he said“In the 40s and 50s there was no problem  with the waterways, but from the time the drain  to the north of Lime Grove was cast with concrete then the major flooding began,” he added.Headley recalled that the water from inland areas such as Hillaby and Turner’s would come down through the waterways and then combine to form a natural drain out to the sea. “The water has natural courses to take, but now the water cannot find its way out anymore, and it is a very destructive thing,” Headley explained.He also expressed concern about the drain adjacent to the police station. Headley said the problem with that drain was that they built it “uneven” – the side by the police station is high and does not cause any problems; the other  side at the back of the residential area is lower and the water flows  onto the properties. He is hopeful that the work done in the area  will improve the situation, but he believes it is too early to tell.Terrol Inniss, supervisor of wells with the Drainage Division in the Ministry  of the Environment,  Water Resources and Drainage, said: “The area in St James is prone to flooding because of the encroachment caused  by development on the drainage system, which does not have the associated engineering work to deal with  the increased run off  in the area.” Inniss underscored  the importance of understanding that the two major issues were  the encroachment from development and the change in land form  and land use. He explained that  the increased run-off had surpassed what the drainage system was originally developed  to handle.To mitigate this, Inniss said, some work had been done in the area. This included the creation  of an earth drain on the opposite side of the road from Sandy Lane Hotel and Almond Beach Resort. This work was undertaken by the Drainage Division  and the National Conservation Commission.In Holetown and the Sunset Crest area, there was work done to the north of the Lime Grove Development, where  there was a new drain constructed by developers of the property. Inniss said: “Work was done to help reduce the flooding, but in some cases it has to do with the amount of rainfall that  we are having. “There are several parameters which go  into a solution for a flood system. If the structure is designed to take away ten cubic metres of water per minute [and] the rain is falling at 15 cubic metres, then obviously flooding will occur.“Also consider the rainfall intensity. If we have high rainfall in a short time frame, then flooding may occur, as opposed to having the same volume of water falling over a two-year period, where you would have no effect.“Holetown also faces the problem of the area being downslope from most of the land mass. There is a steep slope between Highway 2A  and Highway 1. “The interesting thing is that there can  be flooding in Holetown without a single  of drop of rain falling  in the area.”There are no capital works going on in the  area at present, but  Inniss said there would  be ongoing cleaning  and maintenance of existing drains.  (LK)