Government puts storm drains for National District in 2025 budget

Add climate change to the planting of high rises where there were tree-filled patios of single residences, and the widespread construction in Santo Domingo and you get a capital city that becomes Venice whenever there is a passing tropical wave.

Recent event, and many others in modern memory, have revealed the very urgent need for an efficient system of storm drainage. Years ago, a family drowned in an underpass as a result of poor drainage. More recently, the collapse of walls affected major roads in Santiago and the National District, causing deaths and economic hardship.

Given this reality, the National Congress has assigned funds to begin a program of storm drains for the National District in the 2025 budget.

Urban planner Marcos Barina and civil engineer Martin Melendez talked to reporters from El Caribe about the issues. In the first place, it is obvious that an efficient system of storm drainage would certainly avoid almost all of the current problems of urban flooding and the subsequent damage to infrastructure. The most obvious issue is going to be the cost of such a system.

For politicians, this is not something that they like since the results cannot be seen like a subway or elevated roadway or a major hydroelectric dam. It is also very costly and inconvenience-creating since it will require digging trenches along most of the major avenues of any city.

Another issue is education. Yes, education. A population that daily discards its plastics and other refuse so haphazardly will certainly defeat the purpose of a system of storm drains as the refuse would clog most known systems.

According to Melendez, a major push for education regarding recycling and proper disposal of waste is needed in parallel to any project like this one. Perhaps the most important issue is the time frame, with experts in the area estimating it will take something between 10 and 20 years to be completed.

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Listin Diario
El Caribe

8 July 2024