Feb 18, 2014 News
The East Demerara Water Conservancy’s (EDWC) Hope Canal project located at Hope, East Coast Demerara, is the largest ever funded with Guyanese resources.
It offers a real solution to the risk of the failure of the EDWC; a situation that has the potential to occur.
This huge four-component project is close to fruition. On February 15, component two, a $350M bridge was commissioned. Repeated spates of flooding were occurring in the East Coast Demerara villages in the vicinity of the EDWC, during periods of heavy rainfall.
The impact was felt on livestock, farms and residents. This was especially so in 2005 and more so in 2008, after many communities in Regions Four and Five were affected by floods.
Government through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA,) as a result, began to explore the measure of a Northern Relief Channel to improve EDWC’s safety standards to withstand the intensity of hydrological disasters.
The NDIA was tasked with putting together a plan to undertake the necessary hydrological and hydraulic studies and an Environmental Management Plan, with the consultancy contract being awarded to CEMCO/SRKN Engineering, in association with Mott Mc Donald to the value of $64M with a time span of 14 months.
Proposed for construction was a structure with a channel, working in conjunction with the three other components; the high level sluice outfall structure, the conservancy head regulator and public bridge.
The channel, it was proposed, will join the conservancy at a point on its north-eastern embankment and then cut across 10.3km of the coast. The excess water from the conservancy will be drained into the canal via a three-door sluice at that end, running along the excavated channel and spilling into the Atlantic Ocean via the eight-door high-discharge sluice structure.
Work on the four components, valued $3.6B began in 2011 and was expected to be completed in about two years. The project however, suffered some delays due to issues pertaining to weather and the availability of building materials.
A major milestone was achieved in the operationalisation of the project with the commissioning of the Bridge which was successfully executed by DIPCON Engineering.
Speaking at the commissioning, President Ramotar reiterated the economical and humanitarian importance of the Hope Canal Project, underscoring again the issues with flooding faced by the residents in the area.
“This is only part of total infrastructure projects that we are planning in our country…for us really to have rapid economic growth and for us to improve the quality of our lives, we have to invest in infrastructure to facilitate and encourage economic development and so this is part of that whole project,” the President said.
“I myself have gone in those areas in times when there were floods… I remember going at one time and speaking to people right up to their step from a boat… It was those conditions that formulated the ideas that we had to do something, because we had to make the choice of releasing water into the MMA, knowing full well that it will destroy people’s farms, but the alternative to that was having the pressure on the walls break and flood the whole coastal area..” he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the contractors have agreed to have the outstanding work on the project be divided into several tranches, some of which are to be completed very soon.
On completion the Hope Canal project will be a major engineering construction achievement, built by Guyanese engineers and workers. It will as well be recorded as one of the most significant inputs made towards addressing climate change challenges in Guyana. (GINA)
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