Marooned: South Valsayn Residents

Spread the love
‘This flooding is no act of God. This is an act of bad engineering and there is a solution’ –  Valsayn South Resident

By Sue-Ann Wayow

SINCE Friday, residents of Valsayn South have been marooned.

They cannot leave their homes. Roadways have up to four feet of water and the only transport in and out of the area is by boat.

Residents told AZP News on Monday morning that they were fed up and frustrated with the situation as it is an occurrence annually and especially as an engineering solution was submitted to government authorities two years ago with no action.

However, this is one of the longest periods they have been marooned.

One resident, a financial manager, complained that her children could not go to school since last week.

She said they have been in contact with the Disaster Management Unit (DMU) which have offered to transport people on boats but she said that was a risk especially for young children.

As far back as she can remember, the area that is located approximately two miles from a river has been flooding after heavy rainfall.

Some 25 houses are affected including a home of senior citizens.

She said, “This is utterly frustrating. I cannot go to work. My children cannot go to school. When we were flooded out before, we never got compensated. This is the longest we have been stranded. Four days now and you cannot do anything.”

Her husband explained that to the south of Valsayn South, there is a community that has a poorly constructed drain that connects to the Guybal River which flows into the Caroni River.

He said two years ago, an engineering plan was designed to have a flood dam and a pump installed in the area similar to what was done at Bamboo 3 Settlement at a proposed cost of $3 million.

However, there was no action on the report.

He said, “This flooding is no act of God. This is an act of bad engineering and there is a solution.

“This is an emergency. We need a project like this in this area. This is life-threatening. It is a health hazard. We are taxpayers just like everybody else and it seems as if nobody is taking us seriously.”

While he empathised with those living on riverbanks who were in high-risk areas, he said given their location, they should not have to suffer the consequences based on poor drainage.

Independent Senator Dr Varma Deyalsingh who also lives in Valsayn  is the head of the  Real Spring Neighbourhood association RNA which he said has been trying to get some action from government for years.

Although, they have met with ministry officials before on the matter, he told AZP News, “For us it is getting worse.”

Cybersecurity Engineer at the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus Dr Rajendra Singh lives at the corner of Springlands Avenue and Spring Drive, Real Spring, South Valsayn.

He said he had to design and build a floodgate with sump pumps costing almost $120,000 just to keep the flood water out of his property.

The residents said while Member of Parliament Khadijah Ameen has been lobbying on behalf of the residents in and out of Parliament to have the situation fixed, there was only so much she could do and the main solution rests with the Ministry of Works and Transport.

During the Budget debate, Ameen made specific mention of the need for flood gates in that area and other areas within her constituency.

The engineering report done by engineer Ken Dalchand was shared with AZP News.

Problem and solution 

According to his report, the main rivers draining Bamboo#2, Bamboo #3 and Valsayn South are the Caroni, St Joseph and Guybal Rivers. These main rivers bordering the specific catchment areas are all tidally influenced and there is an underlying existing problem resulting from backflow at the confluence points. For Valsayn South the backflow points are mainly BF1 & BF2 from the Gyubal River. The backflow occurring from peak river flow causes the standing water elevation to submerge major section of the Southern Valsayn catchment.

“The challenge here is the need to prevent the backflow and create ample storage capacity coupled with a lift pump to drawdown and manage runoff within catchment,” the report stated.

Dalchand stated that the proposed solutions can be broken down into three phases, which involves intercepting backflow, upgrades to drainage infrastructure and create additional storage/ lift pump combination. These three items can be broken out into three phases with the most urgent being the backflow from the tidal water body.

The next will be an upgrade of drainage from slipper to adequately sized box drains which will also enhance conveyance and function as extra storage during peak river flow. 

The final implementation will require sizing storage wet well combined with lift pumps to manage storm water runoff from the entire Valsayn South catchment. An important point in the lifting phase will require incorporating redundancy with the pumping units since machinery can fail and a backup option will be a crucial design consideration.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *