A preliminary report of findings on studies done on indirect peak discharge of Dominica’s rivers affected by Tropical Storm Erika was presented to the general public on Friday, March 4th.
Indirect peak discharge is the measurement that determines the height of the flow of water during flooding.
Following the event of August 27, 2015 the Government of Dominica contracted consultant Fred Ogden to do the analysis.
He presented his findings to stakeholders of the Ministry of Health and the Environment, the Forestry Division and the Lands and Surveys department among others.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Johnson spoke on behalf of the Hon Minister for Health.
“The island’s mountainous landscape presents significant engineering challenges particularly for road construction. In addition to the island’s steep topography, undeveloped and damaged infrastructure has been a key challenge to reducing vulnerability to disasters,” he said.
“Critical public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and water supply systems as well as health and education facilities remain vulnerable to climate change related impacts including flooding and landslides. These vulnerabilities arise in part from the failure to consider natural hazards and disaster risk in designing and constructing infrastructure as from differing maintenance.”
The flow data from the studies of 16 rivers across the island revealed that most of the flash flooding during Erika was prompted by huge landslides which formed dams that then weakened and broke.
One of the main aims of the study is to help with the rebuilding process and with future engineering and construction designs of replacement bridges.
Consultant Fred Ogden explained that Tropical Storm Erika was unpredictable and difficult to forecast since it was a very disorganized storm.
He advised collaboration between Dominica and Martinique for radar images to assist with better forecasting.
His findings revealed that a significant portion of rainfall occurred in the interior of the island.
Ogden described the rainfall and peak flow during Erika as incredibly high.
Ogden also used the opportunity to build the capacity of local stakeholders including 16 engineers from Government, DOWASCO and DOMLEC.
He is expected to present the final draft report to Government before the end of March.