Earlier this year, the extreme dry weather occasioned by El Niño scarred a number of Indigenous communities, with reports emerging of livestock perishing in several communities in the Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo Region (Nine).
Previous reports had indentified South Pakaraimas as a sore point, flagging communities such as Paipang, Taushida, Tiger Pond and Tipuru. In the North Pakaraimas, communities such as Annai, Masara, Toka and Anwera were also indentified as hard-hit areas.
The phenomenon had birthed an initiative by Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) to dig eight wells in the region. The company is still collaborating with local contractors to combat the possibility of an El Niño recurrence.
Residents are also expected to benefit from an initiative from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) which will see the construction of rainwater harvesting facilities scheduled to come on stream in 2017.
Rainwater Harvesting is the practice of capturing, infiltrating or utilizing rainfall from roofs, constructed catchment surfaces, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots and streets.
The process is regarded as an effective water conservation strategy in urban and rural areas around the globe, decreasing unnecessary use of heavily treated drinking water for landscaping, toilet flushing, and laundry washing. With proper filtration, rainwater can also serve for potable water uses.
The NDIA, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, is set to embark on this project in the coming year as the Government zeros in on agricultural development within the district.
The North and South Rupununi villages have traditionally suffered from inadequate water supply for their crops and livestock during dry months of the year – which had a proven negative impact on the livelihood of thousands that occupy the region, the Minister said. He added that the agency will be improving on or building such facilities in communities, commencing in the North. Works are planned for the villages of Wowetta, Rupertee, Annai, Aranaputa, Massara, Toka, Parishara and Nappi.
The NDIA is also expected to commence mapping of agricultural facilities and drainage and irrigation channels in each administrative region. These maps, he explained, will show their location and other pertinent data.
Meanwhile, the Ministry is working towards reducing flooding on the coastland. With these plans factored into the Agriculture Ministry’s 2017 agenda, the NDIA is expected to be more ‘proactive’ with the introduction of a dredge for clearing outfall channels, a Government Information Agency report stated.
Recommendations in the draft of the final report for the modelling of an effective and efficient drainage system for the city of Georgetown was submitted by a team of Dutch Engineering students. This report will be used as a guide to ensure the flooding situation in Georgetown is corrected, the Minister said.
He pointed out also, that with the effects of Global Warming on rainfall patterns and rise of sea levels, his Ministry recognises that current systems must be improved to counter these issues.
The objective of executing capital works in the medium-term, he explained, would therefore be made to improve drainage and irrigation throughout Guyana, which would contribute to the long-term goal of achieving high capacity drainage and irrigation system that actively contributes to improved agricultural productivity and reduced incidence of flooding.
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