GT seawall temporarily heightened

6th September, 2013

KINGSTON - Over the past two months, staff attached to the Public Works Ministry have been reinforcing a one kilometer section of the existing seawall between Liliendaal to Kitty to alleviate overtopping and subsequent flooding said Chief Sea and River Defence Officer, Kevin Samad.

Temporary movable concrete structures, which are not wave breakers, are currently being erected to prevent overtopping.

Between April 28 and 29, 1.5 metres of waves riding on top of a high tide of 3.11 metres overwhelmed the sea defence between Liliendaal and Vlissengen Road, causing excessive overtopping and inundation  along the Rupert Craig Highway and the subsequent flooding of adjacent areas inclusive of Kitty, Subryanville, Bel Air Park, and Liliendaal.

In light of this, engineers went to the drawing board to review options that would remedy the situation.                                                                                                                  

“We made an assessment and had conducted relevant hydraulic and geotechnical analysis… when reviewed, the analysis showed that once we heightened [the seawall], it would reduce overtopping.  Because what we found is that the waves were breaking before, but when the waves collapsed then we were getting the overtopping,” Mr. Samad explained.

He further stated that the overtopping in April was triggered due to the low foreshore condition, which had reached an unprecedented level allowing large waves to reach the wall, elevating to a certain height, and overtop when collapsed.

“….the eroded foreshore between Liliendaal and Kitty is the main contributing factor,” the Chief Sea and River Defence Officer added.

He also disclosed that engineers have been monitoring the foreshore along the East Coast and realized that the mud bank was moving down.

“The mud bank would have ‘a head and tail’ and the head mud bank is presently at the Liliendaal pump station…it [mud bank] is a big factor in designing coastal structures. When the mud reaches the area where the overtopping occurred the wave actions would change since it would dampen the waves…once you have mud in the system the wave does not come with that intensity; it attenuates the waves. It is inevitable that the mud bank is moving westward and once it reaches between Liliendaal and Kitty - the entire wave system will change.”

Guyana’s coastal region is approximately six feet below sea level.