February 3, 20111293Views

Friday, February 3 – Key Government Departments attended
a presentation delivered earlier today by Dr. Zoran Vojinovic, an Associate
Professor of Hydroinformatics at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Institute for Water Education (IHE) in the

Dr. Vojinovic and Ms.
Garymar Rivera, the Senior Technical Planning Manager at the Department of
Disaster Management (DDM), over the last three days, visited Virgin Gorda, Jost
Van Dyke and key locations throughout the Territory to assess the existing
condition of drainage ways and drainage systems.

The main solutions
presented included the construction of new channels, the widening of existing
channels and the development of Detention/Retention Ponds. He also recommended
the incorporation of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems which speak to measures
such as designated overland flow paths or swales, permeable car parks, using
open fields to create natural ponds for capturing water, green roofs, infiltration
trenches that lead to aquifers and other non-traditional measures.

Dr. Vojinovic said “One of
the most important measures in addressing the flood issues in the Territory is
to ensure greater synergy between Development Planning, Drainage Management,
Sewerage Management and Disaster Management. Given the nature of flooding in
the region, and the increasing flash flood hazard, there will be no measure to
completely eliminate the risk of flooding. The challenge is to find those
measures that will minimise this risk to certain acceptable limits.”

 He further stated “In some
cases, options can be limited in densely developed locations where there is
little room for drainage structures.” He suggested that a phased approach be
undertaken in finding those measures that can be both cost effective and
acceptable to the affected community and added “It is important to assess the
current building process to identify areas where development should be restricted
to allow for protection of drainage flow paths and to avoid development in these
hazardous areas.” He went on to encourage the DDM to consider more proactive
Disaster Management strategies and implementation of early warning systems
designed to address the flood hazard.

Dr. Vojinovic now heads to
St. Maarten, where he will to continue his work on the Flood Management
Project, and deliver a tailor made course on GIS and Remote Sensing for
Infrastructure Management in Disaster Risk Reduction. The DDM will be
represented at this course and will, in the future, seek to engage Dr.
Vojinovic and UNESCO-IHE to provide further analysis of the flood hazard and
guidance on the development of flood mitigation strategies specific to the
Virgin Islands.