Water rising in New Market; watch on at New RiverThursday, September 02, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth – Stakeholders of two flood-prone areas in this south-central parish are cautiously watching the rising water levels following recent heavy rain associated with tropical storms Grace and Ida.
The main road leading from New Market in St Elizabeth to Carmel in Westmoreland has been left impassable by the rising waters of the Two Sister Pond.
Member of Parliament (MP) for St Elizabeth North Western, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) J C Hutchinson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that at least one motorist had to be rescued after her car got stuck in the water.
“The area is called Two Sister [and] any time there is flooding the water comes across the road and so the vehicles are not able to traverse that section. They have to use other areas… Since the flooding three cars have actually gone into the water, got struck and had to be [pulled] out by a tractor,” he said. “One [motorist] had to be rescued [while] the others were able to swim out,” he added.
“[Officers of the] NWA (National Works Agency) are actually going to put up signs today (yesterday) to detour and block one section of the road, so nobody will be able to come through that section,” he said.
Motorists were urged to use the alternative route through Kilmarnock or Leamington.
Flooding by rising waters from the Two Sister Pond is nothing new.
“This is something that has been happening for years. It is a main road and it is only when we have heavy flooding [that there are challenges]. We are not going to abandon it… Once people see that there is flooding they have to use alternative routes,” said Hutchinson.
Meanwhile, Councillor for the Santa Cruz Division Christopher Williams (JLP) says he is watching the situation in New River.
“New River is a low-lying area and if we are paying attention to what happens over the years, after a long period of rain, we would expect that after some time we are going to have some movement of water in terms of [it] rising,” he said.
“I have been visiting the community for the past few days; as a matter of fact I was there this morning (yesterday). I want to constantly be abreast of what is happening,” he added.
“Conditions are not bad right now as the last time around when we had the water rising to a particular level where we actually had a family moving out…. At certain locations we can see the water rising and a house at the front of the community is not completely surrounded by water as yet, but we can see that the water is making moves,” he said.
The National Irrigation Commission (NIC) is responsible for the cleaning of drains and water courses in the Upper Black River Morass close to the village of New River, and Williams said he was awaiting the arrival of an excavator to assist in channelling the water away from the area.
“I spoke with a representative from NIC this morning (yesterday) enquiring about the cleaning of certain sections of the river and certain drains in the community which are the responsibility of the NIC,” Williams said.
He referred to a July 8 Observer story in which the NIC had promised to do drain cleaning.
“I would have hoped that by now serious cleaning would have taken place. The promise was made that in short order the excavator would come up from down by New Holland to New River,” he said.
“I am very concerned right now, although it is not at a frightening stage as yet,” Williams added.