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Experts needed as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’- Jeremy W. Hodge

- says experts are needed for a fresh outlook & to develop plans for future references
Jeremy W. Hodge, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Communication and Works, explained that his department seeks advice from experts abroad for a 'fresh pair of eyes' to develop a system or plan that anybody can follow in the future. Photo: VINO
The aftermath of the August 2017 flood on the territory. Photo: VINO
The aftermath of the August 2017 flood on the territory. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - During a press conference on Wednesday May 2, 2018 at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) conference room located at Simms Mini Mall, Jeremy W. Hodge, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Communication and Works, explained that his department has sought advice from experts abroad for a “fresh pair of eyes” to develop a system or plan that anybody can follow in the future.

He said, “We brought persons from abroad to look at our systems to get a fresh pair of eyes so that moving forward when Jeremy is no longer here and other guys are no longer here we will have something to pass down on how everything works.”

Dr Nick P. Jarritt, Director for the Water Management Amec Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure UK Ltd., conducted a study that focused on the options for flood reduction in Road Town and other areas while mapping the levels of risks, identifying cost-effective drainage improvements, and developing drainage policies and plans.

The study began in May of 2017 and it’s said to be completed by July of 2018.

In explaining his point, he recalled an experience where a business owner was having issues with flooding on her property that she never had before and the department brought all their engineers to look at the problem but they could not figure it out and one of the engineers said “he wish so and so was here because he could have figure out the problem but he passed on”.

“What happened is that we had to troubleshoot, trial and error, and it took a couple weeks for us to figure it out. So with this study, Dr Jarritt created a map showing all the different areas where the water comes from and where it leads to. We have expanded our road system and we have done a lot of new infrastructures but what we need to look at now is how we can improve and upgrade our drainage systems.”

Hydrology study useful in rebuilding

Mr Hodge further explained that the study is a very beneficial tool to guide the Virgin Islands (VI) in its rebuilding process.

He explained, “This study serves as a guide for the BVI government as we rebuild our infrastructure, in particular; roads, to ensure that experts will be aware of the high-risk areas and also give some guidance on designs on drains and other related systems to mitigate the chances of floods.”

In addition, the Deputy Secretary pointed out that the study includes a comprehensive programme that will develop a ‘contingency plan’ for the territory to clear all the ghuts and drains and include the use of sandbags.

“We are actually using some of the areas highlighted in our study to give some of those high-risk areas immediate attention,” Mr Hodge said.

11 Responses to “Experts needed as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’- Jeremy W. Hodge”

  • a-wa-o (05/05/2018, 12:20) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    All those $100,000+ consultants our gov’t been paying all this while on the books and we still here talking about experts. So who are they?
  • first things first (05/05/2018, 12:24) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    clean the da#n place up first nah!
  • 123 (05/05/2018, 12:29) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    more talks than action
  • wize up (05/05/2018, 13:15) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just a question: don’t you think those of us living in the territory will have a better understanding or knowledge on how the ghuts flows: just a question why someone else always have better understanding of our country....when will we grow up and become more self reliant!!!
  • native (05/05/2018, 23:41) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    A king has no fame in his own ciuntry is a TRUE statement in the BVI . Every thing is “ consultant” ALL the ghuts in greater Road Town bottle neck at or around SUPA VALU ( from Manse Hill in the South/West to Horse Path in the North/East) to the bridge @ Festival Grounds . Why the flooding ? Nature designed rain to drain in the sea / bay Wickhams Cay was developed with how many drains to allowrain run off ? The Cay is higher than Main street and all the bay land from Lagoon Plaza up to the ghetto therefore the is restricted in its flow to the sea There will be mirr abd Greater floods because ALL the ponds are being filled in also
    You dont mess with Jahs master plan He designed and created the islands fir self ckeansing but man in his own “ wisdom “ feels he can BETTER the Creators hand work. We will drown in our iwn ignorance and Greed
  • Another Native (06/05/2018, 06:28) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ Native , Purcell is a prime example of what you mentioned about Road Town . From Purcell gap to Qwomar /Stone Haven used to be pond . All was filled in to create PORT PURCELL to the detriement of ALL between Fort Hill and Pasea when it rains hard . How many exits to the sea ( one in front of Purcell entrance ) Where all the rain run off up Butu mountain to Fahie Hill heads for ? In the bottom land what was bay side right through Pasea /Purcell /Free Bottom . No vision from our leaders and their hired consultants proven time and time over
    • wize up (06/05/2018, 18:20) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ another native: 100% facts; I certainly recalls the day leaving primary school/high school and to got that tamon tree at the entrance to purcel estate and could not get home because it rained up country that was back in the 70s and today we have the same issue(2018) can’t get a drainage problem corrected if you don’t live here to truly understand the conditions during heavy rains
      • Diplomat (07/05/2018, 20:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Wize Up: “ can’t get a drainage problem corrected if you don’t live here to truly understand the conditions during heavy rains.” I take a different view/opinion to this conclusion. Though residents can provide valuable information on the flooding conditions during and after a heavy rain, you don’t have to live on island to design a fix for the drainage problem. Whether it is a local or external engineer/consultant, each will/should review flooding history, including interviewing residents, along with other factors to design a solution to the drainage problem. A few facts about water 1)water seeks its own level, 2)water flows by gravity from a higher to a lower elevation (water flows down hill), and 3)nature forms flow paths and drainage channels (ghuts) to collect and channel water out to sea.

        A survey of the lay of the land, coupled with other collected data, will provide information on what drainage structures/components, size and number of components, and where they are needed to arrest/alleviate the flooding problems. Drainage systems are designed to handle events up to a certain level. For example, if system is design to handle a 10-year event, a 25-year, 50-year, 100-year........etc rain event will result in flooding. The 07 August 2017 rain event was probably a 100-year+ event.

        The landscape in the Purcell, Pasea, Frett Yard.......etc was changed but the drainage system didn’t keep pace with the changes. Several watersheds, ie, Johnson Ghut, Butu Mountain, Fort Hill.....etc drain into small drainage channels that discharge into the sea. The drainage channels needed to be properly sized to safely carry the volume of runoff. The system needs to be designed with manholes, inlets/catch basins, under ground pipes, ditches .......etc to limit the spread of water on road during and after a heavy rain.
  • Another Plan ..Again (06/05/2018, 09:10) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    My good colleague, we only need to dust off those countless plans that are already sitting in the Ministry, work with engineers already at PWD and the ministry, and those persons who are still alive and know the place to come up with an updated draft product in 3 months. Then have a public discussion and get more input and arrive at a final product in 1 month. Get the funding from the budget and get on with implementation. Each minister that comes in wants a new plan and that is more money. Please create deeper drains under the sidewalks with more and wider access holes so the water can drain away quickly.
    • wize up (06/05/2018, 12:52) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ another plan: what I personally think; we don’t have the necessary equipment to effectively execute certain projects and should give those projects to capiable/reputable engineering companies however our own folks can create the blueprints and oversee such projects: as you noted an effective drainage system is needed: drainage is one of the biggest problems we have in the territory....the water flows faster that current drainage system can move
  • E. Leonard (06/05/2018, 15:07) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    As the 07 August 2017 historic flood demonstrated, flooding is a major hazard and issue in the territory, impacting safety, growth and development, transportaion, quality of life........etc. Moreover, poor drainage is a major contributing factor to premature road failure. Further, the territory is small and hilly and runoff does not take long (hours, not days) to move along the drainage basin/watershed out to sea; with increasing development, less rainfall infiltrates into the ground and more runoff occurs. Runoff is the primary drainage component that must be effectively manage to prevent and/or minimize flood damages. Additionally, as land use changes with more hard surfaces created, ie, residential construction……etc the volume and velocity of runoff increases, resulting in increasing flooding and flood damages. and compounding the drainage management challenge.

    Consequently, as the territory rebuilds from the historic flood and the 2 decimating Cat 5 hurricanes, it needs a comprehensive drainage master plan as the blueprint to guide the rebuilding effort. A drainage master plan addresses a myriad of drainage issues, ie, slopes, pipes sizes, road crowns, gradients, channel sizes, conveyance, drainage appurtenances, drainage detention and retention, retaining walls, maintenance strips, road spreads, ponding, hydroplaning……etc.

    Moreover, uncontrolled or poorly managed drainage runoff, pose a serious risk to life and property; investment in and effective implementing of drainage a master plan is needed to protect life and property, reduce operating cost……….etc. Further, coupled with effective drainage system design and construction, is an effective drainage system maintenance. Every effort should be exerted to prevent dumping in ghuts and other drainage conveyance systems, periodically clean ghuts and other systems and avoid filling in ghuts without creating alternative drainage paths. Blocked or clogged drainage systems results in flooding upstream, ie, roads, property.........etc. It is vital and critical to avoid blocking the discharge point of drainage conveyance systems to prevent stacking and flooding upstream. No consultant nor engineer is needed to establish an effective drainage system maintenance programme.

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