Dec 28, 2016 News
The rains are here and residents in the West Berbice area which is drained by the MMA (Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary) water control system, especially those between Bush Lot and Number Thirty Village, are somewhat nervous given their experience earlier in the year.
That event eventually forced frustrated residents to stage a protest by blocking the public road.
It was that time of the rice crop when many rice farmers would release excess waters from their fields. That water would then to flow north to be emptied into the Atlantic Ocean via the MMA drainage canals.
The system is so designed that whenever there is too great a volume of water in the system, giant pumps installed at Trafalgar (Number Twenty-eight Village) would be activated to complement the sluices to get the water off the land. Earlier in the year the system failed residents because the Trafalgar outfall was badly silted, and none of the pumps installed at Trafalgar was operable.
The sluice at Abary together with installation at Cotton Tree, could ‘not adequately service the system, thereby resulting in the residential areas being inundated.
The present situation is rapidly becoming alarming, and farmers and residents have begun to complain. People are losing livestock. There are also implications for crop farmers since the water is receding very slowly. Cash crop farmers could lose their crops, and rice farmers would have to contend with weeds.
Much of the residential areas between Bush Lot and Number Thirty Village remain flooded. The situation is the same in the Belladrum district, with residents complaining that in times past, the water was drained quite quickly. On the contrary, according to residents, there is now a build-up overnight, even though there is no rainfall.
General Manager of the MMA, Aubrey Charles, on Monday, said that as far as he was aware, all the sluices are in proper working order, and the authority endeavours to monitor the situation as closely as possible to ensure that sluices are open when they should be.
He also said that authorities have managed to repair one of the original pumps installed at Trafalgar, and that pump is also in operation boosting the drainage system.
Addressing the issue of the build-up of water when the sluices are closed, Mr. Charles said that such a situation can develop if there is a breach in the irrigation system.
However, the authorities have not received any report about any such breach, but the MMA/ADA (Mahaica/Mahaicony Abary/Agricultural Development Authority) would carry out necessary inspections.
The general manager promised to visit residential areas to have first hand assessments, and to ensure that the MMA/ADA provides the best possible service to the community.
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