Drain System to be built in Melbrook Heights


Residents of Melbrook Heights in Harbour View will soon have access to proper drainage, which will prevent the settling of water near homes and reduce the risk of landslides.

Research Analyst, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Christopher Gayle, has informed that a network of strategically placed drains, channels and rainwater harvesting systems will be installed, which will act as natural hazard intervention in the areas.

He was speaking at a briefing for the Community-based Landslide Risk Reduction Programme (CBLRRMP) held on June 20 at the Garfield Building in the community.

“The community roads (currently) act as drain ways. So therefore, we determined that to effectively deal with the situation, we wanted to formalise the existing drainage channel,” he said.

Mr. Gayle noted that a series of soak-a-way pits will also be built to minimise the risk of flooding in the community. “While this will not solve all of your problems, we are expecting that it will significantly reduce your landslide and flooding risk within the area,” he told the residents.

Project Manager, CBLRRMP, Kirk Frankson, informed that work in Melbrook Heights is expected to commence in August of this year. He said work will also be undertaken in Harbour Heights, which is another project area.

“On average, each community will actually receive US$400,000 for the mitigation, as it relates to the drains,” he said.

The CBLRRMP is a low-cost strategy being undertaken by ODPEM to reduce the risk of landslides and the threat to life and property posed to persons living in hillside communities that are so affected.

The project, which is being tested in Harbour Heights and Melbrook Heights in East Rural St. Andrew, utilizes the pioneering Management of Slope Stabilisation In Communities (MoSSIC) methodology, developed by Hydrologist and Geologist, Professor Malcolm Anderson and Dr. Elizabeth Holcombe of the University of Bristol in England. 

It has received funding support through a grant from the Japanese Social Development Fund, an affiliate of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), in the sum of US$2.375 million. 

The MoSSIC strategy uses a simple implementation formula, in which a process called ‘Community Mapping’ is utilised.  It involves members of the MoSSIC team, the communities and ODPEM walking through the areas, with residents pointing out the locations where they get a lot of water, where the water goes, where the landslides occur,  and where houses might have been lost due to landslides. From that information, maps are plotted. 

Decisions are then made, in conjunction with the communities, regarding where to put drain networks and gullies that would prevent saturation of the soil, especially near homes, thereby reducing the risk of landslides.

The MoSSIC methodology is not used where slope faces are steep. Instead, it capitalises on what is known as ‘slope dewatering’.

                                                           

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter

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