WATCH: Three Miles River residents want permanent solution to flooding problemFriday, September 03, 2021
BY ROSALEE WOOD
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Residents of Three Miles River in central Westmoreland are asking for a permanent fix to the flooding that has plagued them for decades. Mere drain cleaning, they insist, will not suffice.
Each rainy season the main road, the route most often travelled between Grange Hill and Savanna-la-Mar, is blocked by flood waters, they complain. Residents say they often lose valuables as the flood waters rush through the houses of more than 15 families who are then forced to find somewhere else to sleep.
“Mi born and grow inna Three Miles River and every time rain fall we have flood,” Emil Woolery told the Jamaica Observer. “Water run through people house, run through my house, all the while. Mi haffi get up and put mi bed pon block. Sometimes mi can't even sleep innah di house, cause mi haffi sleep over water and that is a bad decision. So mi haffi sleep next door and go a one a mi brother.”
Woolery is convinced that the small size and low position of a bridge in the community is behind the flooding.
“Anytime the water reach, there is back up and [it] come pon everybody,” he said. “The river not deep enough, and the bridge don't big enough to carry the body of water that coming; and it need to keep cleaning. Mi a 52 [years old] and mi born come see it. It never stop.”
Residents Allan Dowe and William Haughton shared similar sentiments. They think a barrier needs to be built to control the water, and that the situation requires professional help.
“[Councillor Rudolph Uter] a do him best but him need help,” said Dowe.
Uter, who represents the Frome Division, agreed that a certain level of expertise is needed to address what has been a long-standing issue.
“It has been an ongoing problem for many, many years. I feel that a feasibility study needs to be done so that the situation can be corrected. I believe that if the authorities are able to meet the water that is coming down and channel it somewhere else [it would help].”
He added that he will be writing to the local government ministry and the National Works Agency (NWA) to arrange a walk-through of the community to facilitate the study and then engage experts who will provide a permanent solution to the problem.
“The problem is bigger [than drain cleaning],” Uter explained. He added that the water that comes down to the plains is travelling from as far as Whithorn, almost 14 kilometres away.
Meanwhile, the councillor has appealed to residents to be more responsible in how they dispose of their waste. Every attempt should be made, he said, to keep drains and rivers clear of garbage.
Several communities in the Frome Division have been affected by flooding in recent days, with Three Miles River, Frome and Bath the hardest hit. The Cabaritta River and other tributaries run through the division and empty into the sea in Little London.