JIS News

The Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport is creating a comprehensive database on the location of drains and gullies so that parish councils across the island will be able to manage and effectively maintain these waterways.
Budgeted to cost the Ministry about $3.5 million, the creation of the drain and gully database was borne out of concerns expressed by Portia Simpson Miller, Local Government Minister, on assuming responsibility for the Ministry in 2002.
Speaking recently to JIS News, Director of the Urban and Regional Planning Unit at the Ministry, Lorna Perkins, explained that Mrs. Simpson Miller was perturbed about the lack of data on such pertinent issues as the location of drains and gullies throughout the island; specifically who was responsible for the upkeep of records on drains.
As such, the Minister requested that an inventory be made of all drains and gullies and that it be periodically upgraded.
In order to create the database, parish councils will be required to conduct checks on the status, type, and sizes of the drains and gullies within their respective areas.
Mrs. Perkins explained that ICONOS satellite imagery, which provides an overhead view of the island, would also be used in compiling the data. The Geographic Information System (GIS), a computer software that allows contents of a map to be manipulated, is also being utilized to help in the creation of an accurate database of drains and gullies.
The Director told JIS News: “The fact that this imagery is being used is that information can be easily computerized and data changed with little time lost.”
Finalized information on the database, which began in April last year, is expected to be completed in March and should prove to be resourceful to the parish councils.
Given the opportunity to operate with a database, Mrs. Perkins said, parish councils would then be able to locate the drains and gullies to which they had responsibility; record the cost for cleaning them for future works; utilize the information for development control which would extend to zoning for land use; and generally, planning, monitoring and more effective management of drains and gullies.
Addressing other benefits that are likely to be realized with this database, Mrs. Perkins said “this should help tremendously not only with cleaning but also repair work, and also would help in looking at the adequacy of the drain as to whether or not it should be larger to meet the demand of its carrying capacity.”
She added that it would also assist in identifying any need for infrastructure development as well as “give an indication of the functionality of the existing drains and whether there was a need for more drains in the areas.”

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