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STREET BEAT: Water pressure

Carlos Atwell

STREET BEAT: Water pressure

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Flooding is a problem well known in Barbados.

In fact, earlier this week some areas felt the effects of heavy rains.

In some areas, only a few minutes of rain will result in waist-high water and one such area is Sion Hill, St James. However, this apparently was not always the case.

“It’s really horrible,” said Janice Lynch, who told tales of water raging through her home.

The proprietor of Sobers Bar and Restaurant agreed. She said the water used to go down Kellman Gully but construction over the years had diverted the water on to the road. She spoke of drivers mounting the pavement to avoid the deep waters and pedestrians unable to pass at all.

“That road needs raising or something but I don’t know what else they need to do, I will leave that to the big heads. Drainage came here when it was dry and they don’t want to hear from no one,” she said.

Lynch said the flood waters often broke into her home, which caused her daughter to leave. She said the water broke down anything in its way and even threatened to wash away vehicles.

“The water comes through my neighbour’s yard and knocks down her paling and it does be up to my windows gushing through my house. I can only clean up after it finish,” she said, adding the constant pressure had softened her foundation which had started to shift.

“It ain’t easy when the rain fall, all it takes is two minutes. It washes away all my plants and leaves my house musty for days,” she said.

Her neighbour, Cecily Clarke, had to take measures to protect her belongings. She said she had to replace the boards with cement at the spot where the water was hitting her house.

“Every time a little bit of rain fall, it flood out. The water was coming in the bedroom through the wood so I changed it to cement. It is very upsetting; all sorts of stuff does wash down. Something needs to be done with this road,” she said.

Another of the many locations prone to flooding is St Lawrence Gap. The focus this time is the part just off from Infinity On The Beach as the water which collects there is of grave concern to management.

Operations manager Ryan Drayton said Government was doing its best but the problem persisted.

“In speaking to the officials at the Ministry [of the Environment], I was told it’s a recurring problem made worse by high tide but the drains are now so full of sand and sediment, it doesn’t really matter what tide it is, the water still doesn’t drain.

“You can imagine tourists in their slippers having to walk through that dirty water? Someone puts down pallets and stones to walk on but that is still not ideal for the image,” he said, adding that 15 minutes of rain was all it took.

General manager Reneé Coppin said the situation was “not nice at all”, adding they often had to ferry guests across the waters in vehicles.

“It creates an impediment for guests – they come here for the beach not stagnant rain water. Drainage has been responsive but I would like this sorted out,” she said.

Pauline Ruck works in the nearby Chattel House Village. She said the problem at the Gap was due to waters merging from all sides and settling.

“When it rains, water comes from the [Dover] pasture and comes down and from through Southern Palms hotel and they merge but that only became a problem after the roadscaping. I think the well here is too shallow,” she said.

Ruck also cited instances of people taking off their shoes and wading through and of people carrying others on their backs.

Not far away in Syndicate Lane, Cavendish Atwell pointed out how a well in the area was quickly overwhelmed when rain fell and the water became just above ankle deep, which may not sound like much unless you tried walking through it.

“The only thing that can be done here is to dig another well. The water actually runs off fairly quickly but if we have another well, then there wouldn’t be the build-up. The well we have is only four to five feet deep so when it is full the water sticks around for about a half hour after it rains,” he said.

Atwell suggested the second well could be built behind the existing one and act as an overflow or in another strategic location.