Government beginning a renewed focus on New Providence drainage issues

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BIS Photo/Minister Alfred Sears - by Ulric Woodside

The Bahamas Government is introducing a three-year plan with a capital budget of $1 million to begin a renewed focus on drainage issues in areas of New Providence. Low budget and long range drainage solutions are being considered by the Civil Designs Drainage Division to provide relief to flooding problems.

“The success of this initiative requires funding, which has been lacking for some time. However, it is the objective of the government to be more proactive than reactionary when comes to addressing flooding in New Providence, hence, the reason for the development of a three-year drainage plan,” said the Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities.

He informed Parliamentarians that the lack of routine maintenance has been a contributing factor to the drainage issue in New Providence. He said an aggressive maintenance program was implemented to restore capacity to the drainage network throughout the island.

“The Island was divided into twelve strategic zones in an effort to better manage and monitor the private contractors hired to execute this project. The cost initially to undertake this assignment was approximately $50,000.00 per zone. However, it is recommended this this amount be increased, to $150,000.00 per zone, for a period of one year at a time. Hence, the budget for this initiative would be $1,800,000.00,” said Minister Sears.

He highlighted Dowdeswell Street, Pinewood Gardens, Bay Street and York and Shirley Streets as areas of concern during his contribution to the 2022-2023 budget debate, June 8, in the House of Assembly. Minister Sears outlined the following: The capacity of the drainage system on Bay Street has been “drastically” impacted and is in need of urgent repair. The amount needed to begin improvements to this network is $1.5 million.

The network on Dowdeswell Street has fallen into a state of disrepair and requires “urgent” overhauling in the amount of $1.2 million.
“The drainage network along this length of roadway, which collects surface water run-off from Shirley Street, Collins Ave, and Hawkins Hill, like main Bay Street, has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair,” he said. The drainage system on York and Shirley streets is in need of “urgent” upgrade.

“The drainage system in these areas typically comprise a network of box drains, with inlets, and concrete channels, all connected, with high density polyethylene pipes (H.D.P.E.) or galvanized pipes, that out fall to the sea. The poor state of the drainage network in these areas has contributed to the flooding situation in the areas during periods of heavy rainfall.”

It is anticipated that a new ACO Drainage (prototype) System will be installed in Pinewood Gardens in the coming months. “This system is used extensively in areas that are already built-up.

The system would allow storm water from the street to be channeled into an underground cistern of sort, and to be used at some future time and/or discharged into a deep disposal stormwater well. The estimated cost of the project is $2.5 million.”

A comprehensive drainage plan to reduce or mitigate the drainage situation in the communities of Coral Harbour sub-division, Carmichael Road, Chippingham Road, Sea Beach Estate and Western New Providence is required. Minister Sears noted that most of the communities have also experienced tremendous flooding as a result of no drainage infrastructure, poor maintenance of existing infrastructure in the area, and poor land development practices. He said $4.75 mil is required to undertake this work.