Water Resources

Outfall at Boulevard Harry Truman, Port-au-Prince

Why is Stormwater Management rarely mentioned in the reconstruction of our cities and surrounding areas?

Flood waters have been inundating our cities and surrounding areas for years causing significant damages throughout the country, from the destruction of houses, buildings, roads and plantations to the killing of residents, including children. Yet when we talk about the reconstruction of Haiti, proper drainage design and stormwater management are rarely mentioned. Some engineers have contained that, in some instances, the implementation of a comprehensive maintenance program which includes erosion and sedimentation control as well as proper solid waste management can alleviate the adverse impact of flooding.

Port-au-Prince, with an existing comprehensive drainage system of ravines, canals/open channels, culverts, piping network, outfalls, and sedimentation tanks, is a good example. The drainage system is elaborate but rendered inefficient due to debris, silting, garbage and so on. A cleaned system would help convey flood waters and minimize negative impacts. Clearly, there are other fundamental issues that affect the performance and adequacy of the system, including demographic explosion and anarchic urban development, which require long term solutions. But proper maintenance will be an important factor.

Rudolf J. Gedeon, PE