Why is there flooding in some areas of Barbados whenever there is a torrential downpour?
1. The areas that flooded were not designed to accommodate the amount of storm-water.
2. The areas were designed to accommodate the amount of storm-water, but the drainage infrastructure (drains and wells) were not properly maintained.
The maintenance issue can be solved by increasing the frequency of maintenance, and providing sufficient resources to do this. The design issue can be solved with significantly less effort.
When designing a drainage solution, the designer needs to know the amount of storm-water that the drainage infrastructure should accommodate. This amount of storm-water is normally expressed as the rainfall event that is expected once in, say, 20 years. The designer can easily determine the amount of storm-water that is expected from a rainfall event that is expected once in every: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 years. Therefore, a lack of information is not the problem.
The principal problem is that there are no drainage standards in Barbados for designers to follow, and for Clients to insist be followed. I believe that all drainage structures in Barbados should be designed for a rainfall event that is expected once in at least every 20 years. If this drain is poorly maintained, then it should still work for a storm that is expected once in 10 years. However, if the drain is designed for a 1 in 2-year event, and it is poorly maintained, then we should expect flooding whenever we get a torrential downpour.
Now that we know the principal problem, and we have determined a solution, it is up to the Government to simply state that from henceforth, all drainage facilities in Barbados must be designed for a minimum 1 in 20-year rainfall event.