Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Climate Change
(Aired 6 January 2006)

     Everyone is now a specialist on drainage, flooding, rainfall and climate change and I find it hilarious that without fully understanding the phenomenon they are dealing with they proceed to extrapolate theories with little or no data and without any fundamental understanding of the real situation.

    Sure we are getting heavy rainfall this year and last year but the annual total of 2005 did not exceed what fell in this country during the years of 1968-1978.

   My commentary, on that situation which The Evening News replayed and which was first aired on the 17th January 2004 one year before the floods of January 2005, predicted that we were not prepared for what was to come for the next 10-12 years from 2004 to 2014.

   During the years 1992-2004 since coming to power the PPP have been very lucky since the average annual rainfall in this country for all of those years was 75 inches per annum, it was a very small amount of rainfall given our history, and I am saying again that anyone who has access to rainfall going back 100 years, such as the sugar estates will tell you that the 1992 to 2004 rainfall was not the normal rainfall pattern for Guyana, what we are getting now, is!

    Data collection in these matters is crucial, for example wherever a rainfall gauge is located the closest structure must be twice the height away from the gauge i.e. if the nearest building or tree or some other obstruction is 30 ft high it must be 60 ft away from the gauge; a quick look at the rainfall gauge in the Botanical gardens will tell you immediately that the gauge is compromised making all rainfall data from there suspect.

  Guyana is located between 1 to 6 degrees north of the equator Georgetown being around 6 degrees and the southernmost part of the country being 1 degree. As such we occupy a unique part of the planet which is in what is called the InterTropical Convergence Zone [the ITCZ] its that place on the globe at the equator say 10 degrees north and south of the equatorial line where the atmospheric pressure is low and where the northern and southern trade winds meet and converge hence the name convergence zone, countries like Guyana within this area have, as a hallmark of their location, two rainfall seasons a year, only 20 percent of the land area of the globe fall within this ITCZ band and receives the highest annual rainfall on the planet the ITCZ includes equatorial Africa and equatorial South America including Guyana.

   Since this convergence of the northern and southern trade winds at the equator can sometimes cause turbulence in the upper and lower atmospheres it can and does produce very intense rainfall periods, in our case in December-January and in May-June. This turbulence in the upper atmosphere coupled with the heat and therefore evaporation of the oceans at the equator explains why the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone becomes a zone of convergence where massive thunderstorms can develop.

  To add to the problem of getting this huge amount of rain falling on us every few years the coastal plain on which over 90% of us live is below the sea level at high tide. So draining this massive amount of water cannot go on for 24 hours a day as it would if we were above sea level, it can only go on when the tide is low which is around 8-10 hours in every 24 hours.

 because the past 10 years produced such a low annual average of rainfall and since no one in authority understood the consequences of it, most if not all of the channels which carry water to the ocean became blocked up, with disastrous results, not only the kokers ladies and gentlemen but now it seems the mouth of the Mahaica, Mahaicony and Abary rivers may also have been silted up during the low rainfall over the past 10 years.

  Currently the Mahaicony area is flooded I suspect that this is because of two things the Mahaicony river outfall, i.e. where the Maichony river meets the Atlantic Ocean is obviously blocked/silted up and needs dredging and secondly the river itself going back several miles inland may need cleaning and digging.

   This is so elementary that it hardly needs explaining but I see that those who make decisions in this country are looking at the back of the Mahaicony River for the explanation when the answer more than likely is at the front of the river where it meets the Atlantic.

    Let us assume for a minute that the Maichony river at the mouth used to be 50 ft by 10 ft deep at low tide prior to 1992 and because of the low rainfall during the past 10 years it is silted up and is now only 45 ft wide by 6 ft deep, in this event what used to be a river mouth capable of delivering [50ftx10ft] 500 square ft of water to the Atlantic has now become [45ft x 6 ft] 270 sq. ft i.e. approximately half of what it should be to bring out the rainfall which is falling at Maracabe and St. Francis' mission in the highlands at the back of Mahaicony.

   Are we dredging the Mahaicony outfall run to the Atlantic to clear the siltation? of course not, that would be too sensible, we have Mr. Jagdeo, Collymore, Chanderpal and so on, pictured at what the Stabroek news calls a high level meeting discussing the plight of the poor people who are affected by all of this, now it saddens me to say that the only way that this group can have a high level meeting is if they convene it on top of Mount Roraima.

    Finally I want to tell you this, and so far I have not seen it profiled in any of the so called analyses offered to the public by various people, if the global warming phenomenon is becoming a reality then not only are the high tides rising but the low tide levels are also rising i.e. we may not be getting the usual depth of water to drain our land which are below sea level, this could mean that even if we managed to keep the high level of the ocean out, we would still be unable to live on the coastal plain since the natural gravity drainage we now enjoy would not be sufficient to drain out the water to any depth and the entire costal plain could become a swamp, especially if the time comes when the low tide level of the ocean is equal to the level of the land inside and we would have to pump every drop of rainfall out of it even now anyone who has ever dug a hole in their property will hit water at around 2 ft the water table] this means that everything we are growing has only two feet to establish its roots, if that is reduced to 1.5 feet because the low tides is not allowing drainage to 2 ft any longer it can have disastrous results for foundations of buildings, planting sugar cane especially etc on the costal plain.

  I actually believe that it would be more feasible and cheaper to raise the ocean and river defenses by 4 ft, than it would be to pump out water from rainfall to a depth of 4 ft which will be necessary to make the costal plain habitable.

    One inch of rainfall is a lot of water ladies and gentlemen it is 27,150 gallons of water per acre, recently we had 4 inches in one day in Georgetown that is 108,000 gallons per acre, a whopping 1.7 million gallons per square mile, I estimate that the area that drains into the Mahaicony river to be around 200 square miles, now remember I am saying that this is my estimate this means that by hook or by crook one inch of rain falling on the highlands at St. Francis' Mission Maracabe and adjoining areas will have to get to the Atlantic via the Mahaicony river that's 3.5 billion gallons of water, if 10 inches fell, and that is what the engineers tell me fell at the back of Mahaicony in the last days of last month, then we are talking about 35 billion gallons of water. You got it now Colly?

          Our president parading around the place handing out money which he is probably breaking the law to do, is really an apology for the incompetence of his administration, people are losing millions in property and he is handing out 10 thousand per household, it's an insult to them and they should not accept it.

     It was really sad to see that lady on the news embracing the very person who is responsible for her being in the mess she is in, which is the nature of our wonderful Guyanese people, simple and true. How sad however that they do not realize that they have been betrayed into believing that their country is being well managed, when it is not!