Almost exactly one year since I reported on the unusual flooding that had started to affect the Valencia Roundabout, the flooding situation has not improved and remains a threat to our livelihoods and lives.
We still believe that the main cause of the ongoing flooding is the construction of the Valencia to Toco Highway. As I stated last year in my report (see below), the residents had made their concerns known to the contractor and the authorities – stating that the drainage that was planned was not sufficient to divert floodwater to the Valencia River, however at the planning stage these concerns did not seem to be taken into consideration.
The reports that I, and other residents, made through Cari-Bois Environmental News and other media outlets, brought public attention to the situation, with various authorities coming to visit the location and give interviews to the media on what needed to be done. However, the video below that I recorded today (June 4th 2021), shows the Valencia Market once again being flooded out – even before the real start of the rainy season.
We, the residents, came together with the contractor, the Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (P.U.R.E.) in the the Ministry of Works and Transport, around June-July 2020 to put together a plan to properly divert floodwaters to the Valencia River. However, while the work was started, it remains incomplete resulting in the floodwaters still having no place to go beside into the road and through the Valencia Market.
With the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service warning that the 2021 rainy season may be wetter than usual and higher concerns for flood prone areas, we sincerely hope that more attention can be given by the authorities to this ongoing situation before it gets even worse.
Unusual Valencia Flooding Linked to New Roundabout
July 29th, 2020
The community of Valencia in East Trinidad is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Season 2020 after experiencing heavy flooding of the landmark Valencia Junction area following rainy season showers over recent weeks.
Residents are linking the unusual flooding to the reconstruction of the Junction into a large roundabout at the Valencia end of the controversial $196 million Valencia to Toco Highway. They want the authorities to investigate and remedy the drainage problem urgently before the full onslaught of the Hurricane Season.
Video captured by this journalist shows overflowing drains around the roundabout and the complete flooding of the fresh produce market. With floodwaters now regularly disrupting sales, vendors and farmers are worried about the threat to their livelihoods and the public’s exposure to food-borne illnesses through contaminated water.
Residents complain that the engineering works did not take their advice into consideration, including their suggestion of rainwater run-off diversions to the Valencia River. Unless addressed immediately, they fear the flooding will worsen and overwhelm their community as the rainy season intensifies with the prospect of storms and hurricanes.
Pondering the flood waters, one resident noted wryly that with floodwater converting the area into “an ocean”, he now understands the meaning of the lighthouse built at the centre of the roundabout.