Farmer Mohan Singh sits on the wall of an automatic sluice along a tributary that connects to the San Juan River. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Farmers operating near the banks of the Caroni River believe a poorly constructed flood gate may cause more flooding in their gardens and at Bamboo Settlement #1, if something is not done to fix it.

Sharing the farmers’ concerns with Guardian Media on Thursday, is Mohan Singh, who farms alongside his son on four acres of land.  The 71-year-old farmer took Guardian Media to the banks of the  San Juan River that channels  water from Bamboo #1 and environs  and empties  it into the  Caroni River.

He explained that an automatic sluice gate was constructed earlier this year on the banks of  a tributary that connects with the San Juan River. That gate empties into a pond, where the excess water is pumped into the Caroni River. 

Singh said the automatic gate is not working properly.

Ideally, an automatic or flap type sluice gate is controlled by the pressure head across it and operates in the same manner as a check valve, allowing for a one-way flow of water.

According to the Bamboo farmer, the gate was constructed to channel water when it reached at an unacceptably high level; but instead is operating in a reverse manner.  

He revealed that repeated requests to the relevant authorities—namely officials of the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation, the Environmental Management Agency and the Ministry of  Works and Transport—asking that they do something about the defective sluice gate, have fallen on deaf ears.

He said a Supervisor at the Works Ministry had visited the site earlier on Thursday and took pictures.

“If this thing is not working properly, and the rains fall very hard later in the year, the crops would get flooded, as well as the village,” Singh warned.

He noted that roughly 40 acres of land are farmed by 10 persons who grow short term crops.