Oct 04, 2010 News
EDWC Relief Canal…
“The publicly expressed views of experienced and knowledgeable engineers have indicated that it would be cheaper and safer to construct the Northern Relief Canal at Flagstaff to the Mahaica River.”
This is according to Lance Carberry of the Peoples National Congress Reform, who on Friday, mere hours after the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Canal at Hope/Dochfour to relieve the East Demerara Water Conservancy, berated the Administration for not heeding advice.
Carberry reiterated to media operatives that the Consultants appointed by the Government, stated in their Report, that “the client instructed the Consultant to continue the design of the Relief Channel based upon the deep foreshore option and maintaining the width of the way-leave.”
He said that concerns were however expressed on excavating an outfall channel 2.5 km in length and maintaining it at an invert of 14.00m GD”.
He said that the Consultant further stated that “A much shorter relief channel route is possible between Flagstaff and the Mahaica River” and “It is possible that drainage in the Mahaica could be improved in the lower return period events.”
Carberry pointed out that the Mahaica option would also need maintenance, but that requirement may not be any greater than the maintenance required for the Hope/Doch Four options.
According to Carberry, the capital cost of the Flagstaff, Mahaica relief route would be significantly lower than that of the Hope/Doch Four relief.
The Party Chief Whip pointed to a public pronouncement by Charles Sohan, who he described as a very experienced and knowledgeable Guyanese Engineer, who stated that, “It was evident from the Consultants’ report the proposed Canal at Hope/Dochfour will not alleviate flood risks per se from the EDWC but it could provide some measure of flood relief if it operated in conjunction with the Lama and Maduni Sluices discharging into the Mahaica River.”
Carberry drew reference also to the fact that it was pointed out that there was one option “that laid out a 3.5 km canal from the conservancy to the Mahaica River but this was rejected after hydrological surveys were carried out on the river showing that not only does the river have an inverse gradient (silt build up along the center of the channel) but it also has silt build ups blocking the mouth of the channel and which prevent adequate drainage of the channel during the low tides.”
“What are the functions and responsibilities of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA)?” questioned Carberry.
He said that the reality is that, “the heavy siltation in the EDWC is progressively limiting its storage capacity…Therefore, the height of the water in the Conservancy is not truly indicative of excess inundation but of the urgent need to dredge the Conservancy.”
Carberry said that from all the available hydrological survey, information and analyses, it is clear that flood relief would only be effective with or without the Hope/Doch Four canal, through the dredging of the Mahaica River as far upstream as beyond Belmont, along with the removal of the sand bar from its mouth.
“In addition, there is the urgent need to dredge the approaches and rehabilitate the Lama, Maduni, Cunha and Kofi sluices, along with the canal leading to the Land of Canaan Spill Weir to restore the entire system to the original design capacity.”
Carberry posited that it can only be the result of the arrogance of incumbency that is causing the Minister of Agriculture to be insisting on the building of the Hope/ Doch Four Canal, rather than undertaking the urgently needed dredging works indicated above, as well as to construct the Relief Canal at Flagstaff as recommended.
Carberry also questioned the final cost of the project.
He said that the Minister of Agriculture is claiming that the construction cost, for the Hope/Doch Four relief canal, would be G$3.6B.
“However, if account is taken of the cofferdam required for the eight door sluice; the sea defence protection concrete walls, at least 100 ft. both sides downstream of the outlet sluice; the length of the drainage channel and embankment over 10kms long; the road diversion with a high level pre-stressed concrete bridge along the main roadway; the access road for construction; and the access bridges across the canal, the cost is likely to be in excess of G$4.0B of scarce Guyanese Taxpayer funds.”
Carberry pointed out that it is evident that the engineers are fascinated by the opportunity to apply new materials and technologies for the construction of the Hope/Doch Four canal, “However, there is no doubt that, given the extent of scarce national taxpayer resources, which the Government, through the Minister of Agriculture, is arrogantly insisting on committing, that it is technically feasible to build the Canal.”
He also questioned whether the solution is necessary and desirable.
He warned also of what is the major and most frightening environmental risk, which is the likely catastrophic consequence of a breach of the banks of this high-level canal, which, for eight of its 12 miles, would be between eight and nine feet higher than the surrounding terrain.
“Such a breach, apart from the possibility of the loss of lives, could cause considerable loss or damage to existing housing and other built infrastructure, as well as disrupt the livelihoods and well-being of the inhabitants in the surrounding communities of Doch Four, Two Friends, Hope/Lowlands and Ann’s Grove.”
Carberry said that despite this likely threat, the Government claims that there is no need for an Environmental Impact Assessment but, instead, an Environmental Management Plan.
“What are the Environmental Hazards which this EMP will manage?”
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