The Department of Environment said a flow of reddish-brown water pouring into south sound from a culvert is runoff from a low-lying residential area. The DOE said the unsightly runoff quickly dilutes without doing major damage, but said it’s a reminder the importance of proper planning.
DOE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell told Cayman 27 the unsightly outflow from a culvert just a few hundred feet East of the Red Bay dock is fresh water runoff from Randyke Gardens, an area notorious for its propensity for flooding.
He said despite the water’s somewhat sinister hue, it does not spell immediate doom for the ecosystem.
“It does have an impact, but it is not huge, and quickly dilutes, however it does show the importance of taking environmental and other issues into consideration when planning developments,” said Mr. Bothwell.
He said the culvert was put in several years ago, well before environmental impact assessments were common practice.
“In the case of Randyke Gardens, homes are getting flooded out, these culverts needed to go in, but you don’t want the next development or the next road to cause a knock on problem there or somewhere else that could have been solved by better EIA and planning,” said Mr. Bothwell.
He said when these environmental issues aren’t planned for, it’s mother nature who picks up the slack.
“A lot of these things could be alleviated even before they happen just threw taking a bit more extra time and doing a small EIA on a small project, or a bigger EIA for a bigger project, to make sure that we have taken into account, in particular, things like drainage,” said Mr. Bothwell.
Mr. Bothwell told Cayman 27 this drastic example of freshwater runoff mixing with seawater showcases the importance of the role of mangroves.
“Mangroves are like the kidneys or the liver of the coastal ecosystem, they’ve been described as sponges of the ecosystem, they are a buffer between the land and the sea,” said Mr. Bothwell.
Mr. Bothwell told Cayman 27 the runoff from these drainage culverts is unlikely to impact the nearby coral reefs.