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A new road with no drainage leaves a southern Georgian village in fear of flooding

Tskordza (Tamuna Uchidze/Samkhretis Karibche)

A new road to Tskordza has left local residents far from happy. They worry that with no drainage system, the road will exacerbate flooding in the village. The local government, however, has dismissed their fears as groundless.

Venera Sudadze’s house in Tskordza, in southwest Georgia's Akhaltsikhe Municipality, is flooded every time there is heavy rain. Her house is close to the entrance to the village, at the bottom of the road. Water first floods her garden, and then the rooms in the house.

‘We dug a channel in the basement next to the house to try and redirect the water flow so that the walls don’t get really wet’, Venera tells Samkhretis Karibche.

Other villagers have to deal with the same problem.

‘My house gets flooded by water that runs from above when it rains. All the mud and dirt runs into my house’, Nugesha Kovziashvili complains.

‘The volume of water can reach tremendous amounts when it rains. It first floods the neighbour’s house — and then mine’, Tsiuri Sudadze remarks.

The villagers at the bottom of the road are not the only ones complaining.

‘Our basement always floods. Now that they’ve built a new road, if they would install drainage too the water wouldn’t run in our direction anymore, but nothing will change now’, Rusudan Jvaridze, who lives in the centre of the village says.

Paving the road to Tskordza

(Tamuna Uchidze/Samkhretis Karibche)

This is the first time the road to Tskordza — where 22 families live — has been paved. Villagers were excited about the road, but now they fear that the chances of their houses flooding has only increased without a proper drainage system.

Astoria, the company who won the tender to build the road, finished laying the asphalt to the village two weeks ago. The project costed ₾260,000 ($110,000), but a proper drainage system was not installed besides the road, which is just 1.3 kilometres long.

‘The new road will make it even easier for water to accumulate, run down it, and in the end we will get a greater mudflow’, Sudadze says.

Venera Sudadze is now afraid that her new channel in the basement won’t be enough, and the walls will become wet.

‘Have you heard of building roads to villages without a drainage system? We told them to make it when they started construction, but we were told that it wasn’t written in the project’, she adds.

‘Not necessary to create a drainage system in Tskordza’

(Tamuna Uchidze/Samkhretis Karibche)

The director of Astoria, Malkhaz Manvelishvili, says that a drainage system made of reinforced concrete wasn’t included in the project.

‘However we dug a ditch along the road just like a drainage system’, he told Samkhretis Karibche.

The villagers are afraid that without drainage, the new road will also soon be damaged.

Manvelishvili, along with head of Akhaltsikhe Municipality Zaza Melikidze, rule out the possibility of houses getting flooded in the village.  

‘I cannot remember any appeal from Tskhordza related to flooding. I think there was only one house in the centre of the village and we asked for protective fences to be installed on the edges of the road’, Melikidze says.

Samkhretis Karibche asked how expensive it would be to add a drainage system to the road.

(Tamuna Uchidze/Samkhretis Karibche)
(Tamuna Uchidze/Samkhretis Karibche)
(Tamuna Uchidze/Samkhretis Karibche)

‘It’s not about the money. It would make the road narrow and then where would we direct the accumulated water? It would have been more dangerous and harmful then having the mudflow run in an open space. It was not necessary to create a drainage system in Tskordza, and we didn’t put it in the project’, Melikidze added.

Marine Sudadze who sits on Akhaltsikhe City Council for the opposition European Georgia party, says she supports the villagers. Marine is from the same village and says she faces the same problem. The new road is good, she adds, but it should have been built properly.

‘Only a fool would say that the road doesn’t need a drainage system. It would just be more expensive to add drainage channels and that’s why they didn’t do it. I am really upset that the water will damage the new road very soon, not to mention the flooded houses’, Omar Nebadze, another resident of the village remarks.

According to the contract, the construction company is obliged to keep the road in good condition for two years.

The article is a partner post written by Tamuna Uchidze. The original version first appeared on Samkhretis Karibche on 17 August 2017.

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