Ministry assures Orange Grove farmers: Broken sluice gate to be replaced soon

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Avinash Singh.

The Agriculture Ministry is assuring farmers at the Orange Grove Estate in Trincity that the damaged sluice gate in the Caroni River will soon be replaced.

Minister in the ministry Avinash Singh was responding to questions from the Opposition in Senate on Tuesday morning.

In recent years, farmers in that area have lost many crops owing to flooding. Opposition Senator Wade Mark asked what measures being taken to address the issue.

said the sluice gate at the southwestern end of the Caroni River was breached, which caused a back flow from the Caroni River into farm lands. But, he said, the gates in the Arouca and Dinsley Rivers are functional.

“Given the issues at this location and the unprecedented rainfall being experienced within recent times, the focus in fiscal 2023 will be on the part of the project which connects to the Caroni River,” he said. He said this includes fixing the gate, accelerating the rate of removal of water from that area, the repair of a broken cylinder crossing leading to the gate, as well as the overtopping of that river’s embankment in certain areas.

“Under the 2023 PSIP, we are replacing the single sluice gate that discharges into the Caroni River with a double, four-feet-wide sluice gate system.

“The new system will also contain flap gates to redirect the flow of water into the project from the Caroni River.” In addition to this, he said, it was proposed that a mobile pump be installed there to mitigate against flooding.

He said the ministry has been liaising with the Works Ministry’s drainage division, “particularly, with respect to the low-lying areas of the Caroni River embankment.

“A technical assessment on the other two sluice gates will be undertaken.” He said invitation to tender for the construction of the new sluice gate should be sent out by Tuesday and the process will end on June 6. He anticipates that it will be awarded by June 16.

While the tender process is ongoing, the mobile pump will be installed. And while the ministry has pumps readily available, it has also ordered one specifically for this project.