The construction of the billion-dollar Hope/Doch Four Canal will come under public scrutiny to ensure that the best option is chosen, so said Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud in an invited comment to Kaieteur News yesterday.
The draft design which was completed some two weeks ago will be made public shortly, to glean the public’s comments and reviews.
Additionally, a copy has already been sent to the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE) for that body to peruse and give their expert comments.
Persaud said that while he has noted the preferred options of the designers, he is keen to have wide-ranging and expert opinion on the issue that has attracted much public interest.
Further, there will also be a copy of the entire document on the Ministry’s website so that not only national opinions are sought but international ones as well.
He added that the technical oversight committee which he constituted will examine the document thoroughly so that the best document can be put together for such an important project.
Persaud said that this approach will not be indefinite; rather he is looking to get feedback by the second week in January.
The recently concluded draft design report has proposed two options. The first, which is preferred by the engineers, proposes a shallow outfall channel with a high crested weir (fall).
The design boasts among others features, a high crested weir, a one kilometre long outfall to the Atlantic Ocean with a discharge capacity of 62.1 cubic meters per second. It will cost some $3.6B to construct.
The second option is a deep outfall channel with a low invert sluice.
Among its features are a low level reinforced concrete outfall sluice and a discharge capacity of 66 cubic meters per second. This design will cost $3.2B to construct.
The engineering team responsible for the draft design is not inclined to go this route since periodic dredging of the channel will be needed, thus incurring additional cost.
The building of the canal was necessitated after the Mahaica/Mahaicony areas experienced constant flooding whenever the rainy season came around.
The flooding situation in those areas is normally exacerbated with the releasing of water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy, whenever it reaches dangerously high levels.
The imminent canal will bring an end to this situation, since the excess water from the conservancy will be released into this canal.
When the Hope Canal design is finalised the project will take some three years to complete.
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