After the heavy rains last November which caused the severe flooding of the Radio Lighthouse and West Palm Beach areas, this catastrophe became a national concern.
Almost immediately after this disaster, a rehabilitation project of the waterways began near the south main road and surrounding areas by the Public Works Department (PWD).
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Barbuda Affairs (MAFBA) was approached to assist and gladly did so then shortly thereafter, took rein of the project after the PWD relinquished the task.
“Nevertheless, the ministry has a vested interest, not only for Antigua & Barbuda but given the fact that the streamlines are bordered by farmlands which have been greatly affected. In this light, we felt obliged,” explained Gregory Bailey, Director of Agriculture.
There are several waterways on island, some of these are located in Belmont, Liberta, and Table Hill Garden etc., and the rehabilitation of all is necessary.
However, the Christian Valley waterway or streamline is a major one and is now being given top priority.
With the 2021 hurricane season now in progress, additional mitigation plans are being executed for the further prevention of siltation and massive erosion in the areas immediately around and inside the Christian Valley Agricultural station.
The main measures include, but are not limited to, the construction of silt traps and diversions, in order to better manage the water flowing out of the hills.
“The idea is to create offsite interventions in order to reduce the potential for destruction onsite” Bailey said.
According to Bailey, water originating from the hillside with high velocity has very little barriers to slow it down and prevent the erosion.
Therefore, boulders from the adjacent areas will be utilized for the restructuring and reinforcement while surplus of soil materials with finer aggregates sizes have been used for farm feeder road rehabilitation, donated to other government agencies and ministries such as PWD, CHAPA, Solid Waste and the Environment Division.
According to Alvin Christian, Heavy Duty Equipment, Soil and Water Consultant for the MAFBA working on this project, this waterway has been cleared several times in the past but this time around, this rehabilitation will attempt to address several major issues such as the recessing of the eastern wall of the waterway by the angle of forty-five (45) degrees as opposed to the current angle of ninety (90) degrees. This will prevent the undercutting that occurs after heavy rains.
“We are here to reengineer the watercourse in an effort to improve soil stability”, said Christian.
Despite all the constraints faced such as lack of adequate heavy duty equipment and machinery, Bailey noted that a lot has been achieved thus far under the circumstances.
He further indicated his approval and satisfaction to Christian’s expertise and his onsite supervision.
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Will there be a water catchment construct to store the flow of the water?
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