At least four streams are the ones that have historically caused floods and landslides in different sectors of the city, despite this there is no definitive solution.
The presence of winter and heavy rains is a constant worry for residents of at least 18 sectors of Ibarrafrom the south to the center.
Flooded houses, overflowing streams, trapped carsare part of a panorama that they experience every year, but nobody does anything to find a definitive solution.
The neighbors use brooms, buckets and boots when the rain passes to clean all the material that came down the mountains and filled the streets with mud. Public heavy machinery supports this work. This scenario is observed the next day in entire neighborhoods, not only rural but also urban. They are reliable witnesses that Ibarra It is a city that could not be exempt from situations such as those that recently occurred in the north of Quito, in the sector of La Gasca.
They live between streams
The Ibarra Fire Department has mentioned that there is critical points that are identified, both in urban and ruralwhere every time it rains there are at least flooding of houses and streetsalso explain that in most situations they occur in areas close to streams, ditches or water passages.
Within this point, they mention that the buildings little by little they have been expanding to the banks of the ravineswhich puts its inhabitants in imminent danger.
One of the cases, for example, is the neighborhood Odila Gardenswhich has in its surroundings two small streams, which when it rains they overflow and affect dozens of families.
Another example is the industry Union and Progresswhere its inhabitants have to cross a ravine, since it is the only way to get home. In winter time it becomes practically impassable.
houses in danger
The February 6, 2022, Ibarra firefighters had an afternoon and night dedicated to solving home flood calls for helpwhere it was even necessary to use heavy machinery to dig ditches and divert water, product of ditch overflow.
Between the most affected sectors there are the neighborhoods 10 de Agosto, 19 de Enero, Ejido de Caranqui, Yacucalle, La Florida, Periférico Sur, San Antonio, La Floresta, Romerillo Bajo, Jardines de Odila and Unión y Progreso.
in the forest a stream destroyed a retaining wall and affected part of the infrastructure of a houseso it was necessary to evacuate its inhabitants and modify the channel of the ditch, so that other houses are not affected.
A problem without a solution
Despite being a constant problem in almost twenty neighborhoodsthe definitive solution does not arrive.
Almost a decade ago, an attempt was made to remedy the issue of doverflowing of ditches, rivers and streams that come down from the upper part of the Imbabura volcano, with a runoff project.
This consisted of build retaining walls in strategic parts of the water currents to stop the passage of the material towards the low zones, but the project, which almost bordered the $5 millionawarded in 2014, was unfinished by the contractor companywithout until the date there is a repair or alternative to finish the work.
Jobs in various fields
Risk management experts agree that the solution to the problems of flooding in Ibarra not only goes hand in hand with small actions, such as cleaning the sewers or keeping the sinks clean, but it takes a macro investment in at least four streamsto place micro dams that contain water currents, minimizing the impact on the lower parts.
However, they warn that this is a constant workwhich requires infrastructure maintenancecleaning the material that accumulates, something that precisely has not happened in the streams that have historically affected the city.
They add that the current system is totally collapsedno longer fulfills its function and needs, at least, maintenance with machinery, but mainly to rethink a new project, which is finished and not left halfway.
poorly done interventions
From the Municipality of Ibarra they stated that a year ago an emerging loan was obtained with the State Bank for $1 million, after a flood in several sectors of the city, to work on the maintenance of the runoff walls; however, the firefighters say that the poor state of this infrastructure is evident in recent tours of the streams.
“The runoff system it’s practically collapsed and maintenance work needs to be done. Based on photographs and what has been observed, we would have to rethink a new runoff system”, explained Patricio Rodríguez, planning director of the Ibarra Fire Department.
In addition, he said that it is evident urgent need for analysis of the streams, rivers and possible places where they can occur floods or floodswhen it can be prevented and they have not yet had misfortunes to regret.
Las Flores, Tanguarín, Alpargate y Laurel son las cuatro quebradas que representan mayor peligro de inundaciones y aluviones en Ibarra.