Saturated ground, slow outflow culprits behind Garapan floods


The Department of Public Works attributes the flooding in Garapan to the saturated ground and the slow outflow of rainwater, among other things.

A DPW statement also blames the formation of sandbars from western waves for the knee-deep flood in some areas.

“The ground [in Garapan] is saturated, preventing the water from percolating [filtering] down to the aquafers due to the considerable rainfall,” the DPW statement said after Saipan Tribune sought comment from DPW Secretary James Ada.

The department statement added that western waves are also pushing the sand closer to the shoreline, creating sandbars that block the drainage outlet systems.

To mitigate this problem, the DPW Road Division works with the DPW grounds crew and Bureau of Coastal and Environmental Quality to clear any debris blocking the drainages.

“[The] DPW crew is working continuously by cleaning the drainage inlets prior and during the rainy season to alleviate flooding,” the statement noted.

At the same time, even with all these precautions, Garapan is naturally a flood-prone area because it is located within a flood plain area, DPW pointed out.

It was earlier estimated by DPW that it would take about two years to resolve. This includes detail engineer designing, geotechnical testing, environmental assessments, surveys, and right of way. And that is assuming that funding is readily available.

The department told Saipan Tribune in a previous statement that they are currently working the Office on Planning and Development to apply for federal grants.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
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