Friday, May 04, 2007

discussion re flood-prone Labasa

from w
I found this article concerning a discussion in Labasa about dredging the river to help prevent flooding. It's from March but it's still relevant.

Dredge alone cannot solve town dilemmaMar 20, 2007, 16:18
Interim Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests Jainend Kumar said that it is not fair to blame the Drainage and Irrigation Division for the cause of flooding in the Northern Division.

In a recent meeting with the Labasa Chamber of Commerce Mr Kumar said that the chambers concern, though genuine, has to be seen with other factors that contributed to the flood. Mr Kumar said that a post mortem of the whole drainage structure will be looked at to determine its impact on the flood.

“Whether it is the Drainage and Irrigation Division or any other institution, nobody can do anything without the necessary resources,” he explains.“This has to do with funds and equipments in use,” added Mr Kumar.

The chamber had raised issues concerning the dredging of the Labasa River from the bridge right up to Nacula settlement as a measure to irrigate the river levels during heavy downpours.

Chamber Chairman Mr Shiv Lal Nagindas says that siltation on the river after the bridge has gone from bad to worse and is causing the river to flood the town whenever there’s a downpour.

Mr Kumar said that whilst this may solve the problem, getting the dredge past the bridge itself is a factor that will have to be considered.“The dredges are so heavy, weighing more than 300 tonnes and to lift it and put it on the other side of the bridge is a mammoth task.”

“What we can do is to work together and look at ways in which we can mitigate the floods and reduce siltation.

Mr Kumar said that one area that needs to be looked at is the proper management of watershed areas. “The way forward is to properly manage our watershed areas and try to arrest the flow of debris and silts on the upper stream. The other possibility is to dam the flood levels and use the water for hydro electricity.” He also said that reticulation of water will also help us in irrigation purpose and aquaculture.

Apart from that he said that landowners can also benefit by venturing into eco agri -tourism in these areas. “So obviously water shed management is probably the best way out of resolving any kind of flooding in the future and will also solve the problems of water shortage.”

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