Apr 14, 2016 News
-Govt. gets US$25M CDB loan to boost sea & river defence
Government has secured a US$25M loan agreement from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for
a project aimed at improving Guyana’s sea and river defence capabilities. Guyana will be providing US$5.9M to the project, which is anticipated to benefit some 45,000 people and cover 5.4 kilometres of critical area.
In light of this loan, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson is adamant that increased macro economic development will follow.
Patterson was addressing CDB and local officials at the launch of the Sea and River Defense Resilience Project workshop at the Pegasus Hotel, yesterday.
Patterson noted that susceptibility to flooding is not only something that destroys property and the livelihood of vulnerable residents, but is also something that erodes investor confidence.
He said that if sea and river defences are improved, this will be a boost to investments in Guyana.
The Minister said that in addition to the inevitable infrastructural work, the sea and river defence project would include establishing a system to monitor changes in the shoreline. He spoke of the massive 2005 floods, which caused millions in damages to coastal communities and unleashed the dreaded leptospirosis disease on the populace.
“One of the discoveries during those floods,” Patterson said, “is the fact that in Georgetown we do not at the moment have a full overview of our drainage system and it is spread all over six different agencies.”
In the wake of all of this, Patterson revealed that a team, under the direction of the Dutch Risk Reduction (DDR), would be mapping the city of Georgetown in the coming months.
“When the mapping has been completed,” Patterson said, “We would model Georgetown on software. We can actually see where the areas of risk are, where the flood areas are based on the water-flow and make targeted interventions.”
Patterson also spoke of provisions being made for University of Guyana (UG) and Guyana Technical Institute (GTI) students being involved in the project. He described this as a valuable opportunity for them to learn.
In addition, the Minister noted that with this project, some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations (UN) will be fulfilled.
Finance Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts, expressed a similar sentiment as the Minister of Public Infrastructure, regarding the 2005 floods.
He made it clear that Guyana could not afford a repeat and noted that the intervention would lead to a friendly eco-system which would build investor confidence.
Providing details of the project was CDB’s Portfolio Manager, William Ashby, who related that the US$30 million project would encompass the reconstruction and improvement of 5.4 kilometers of sea and river defence infrastructure.
He noted that at least 45,000 persons in about 9,000 households in Regions Two, Three, Four and Six would benefit under the project. He assured that the designs would be up to standard.
Ashby also announced that provisions have been made for the shoreline change monitoring system.
Last year, the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) from the Netherlands had arrived in Guyana and spent days analyzing Guyana’s drainage system. The team included Team Leader, Rob Steijn; Social Scientist, Judith Klostermann; and Civil Engineer, Fokke Westebring. Their trip involved a flyover of Guyana and a dozen interviews with local officials.
Afterwards, Steijn had reported key considerations and preliminary recommendations to the Government, including the need for an upgrade of Guyana’s drainage on both a technical and managerial level.
He had also expressed the need for Guyana’s water system to be addressed while expressing that short-term improvements, such as small-scale dredging, were possible.
Steijn had also added that the issue must be attacked on all levels, from the planning stage right up to the enforcement of legislation. He said too that an integrated approach involving all stakeholders was necessary.
His team’s preliminary recommendations had then been presented. These included the increase of flood resilience for people and businesses; upgrade of dredging capabilities and improvement of flow efficiency; develop long-term plans and to test a pilot project; develop and apply a lifecycle approach for the drainage assets; and also data management through digitization.
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