Jan 03, 2017 News
Given the critical nature of Guyana’s water resources to agriculture and other sectors, great importance
must be placed on the water planning, development and management that is done by National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary Development Authority (MMA/ADA).
This was according to the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, as his Ministry held its “End-of-Year” Press Conference in Georgetown, last week.
The Minister told media operatives that his ministry is taking due cognizance of the effects of global warming on rainfall patterns and sea level rise.
“We recognize that our systems must be improved. The objective of executing capital works in the medium term would, therefore, be to improve drainage and irrigation throughout Guyana, which would contribute to the long-term aim of achieving a high capacity Drainage and Irrigation (D&I) system that actively contributes to improved agricultural productivity and reduced incidences of flooding.”
Minister Holder said that a holistic approach is necessary for proper management on both a technical and managerial level and in 2017, the Ministry will commence the process of mapping facilities structures and drainage and irrigation channels in each region.
These maps, he explained, will show the location and other pertinent data. It would indicate which works are executed by Water Users Associations, Community Development Councils, Farmers’ groups, Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, etc. and would be a major asset in depicting the D&I systems throughout Guyana.
To show the diversity and importance of the drainage and irrigation machinery, the Minister gave a regional breakdown of the Government’s plans.
In Region Two, the major drainage problem the Minister stated is the ‘heavy’ accretion of the drainage outfall channels between Devonshire Castle and La Union (including Hampton Court, Lima, Anna Regina, Three Friends, Taymouth Manor and Capoey).
“We have employed a pontoon mounted by two long boom excavators to keep these channels clean. This system is inefficient as an excavated outfall channel is blocked within a week if there is no heavy rainfall to flush the channel.
“The acquisition of a dredge would significantly improve the efficiency of the drainage systems in the areas identified.”
Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara)
For Region Three, the Ministry will focus on the agriculturally underdeveloped area between Locabu and Maripa, the Minister said while adding that this rehabilitation of drainage infrastructure in the area would serve as a catalyst for the return of farmers to the land.
Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica)
“In Region Four, we will focus on Buxton. This area is drained by a pump station that was constructed in 1927. It has outlived its usefulness and would be replaced by a new pump station in 2017.
Buxton is one of the lowest villages on the East Coast Demerara and would be efficiently drained after years of constant floods.
“Additionally, the construction of a new NDIA headquarters building will commence in this Region,” Holder stated.
Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice)
The Drainage and Irrigation works in this region are mainly executed by the MMA-ADA. However, the Minister said that the NDIA will supplement the works in the Abary-Mahaica area.
He related that the MMA-ADA has plans to commence the construction of a $300M sluice at D’Edward to replace the 50-year-old existing structure.
This, he said, will enhance drainage of all residential areas and agricultural land between the Abary and Berbice Rivers.
Additionally, Phase 2 of the Abary/Mahaicony conservancy with the construction of a 4.5-mile main canal and 10-mile dam will commence.
This proposed dam will extend the current Abary/Berbice conservancy to service agricultural lands between the Abary and Mahaicony Rivers.
Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne)
A major problem in Region Six, the Minister said, has been the need to desilt the outfall channels – each about one mile long – at Adventure, Eversham, Joppa and No. 52 Village twice per year.
This exercise, he said, is costly and very time sensitive in terms of the rainy seasons. He said that the NDIA acquisition of a dredge would help to keep these channels clear.
Region Nine (Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo)
For the first time, NDIA will be undertaking works in Region Nine. The North and South Rupununi villages have traditionally suffered from inadequate water supplies for crops and livestock during the dry months of the year.
This has severely affected their livelihoods, Minister Holder said.
To this end, the Ministry will be improving or building rainwater harvesting facilities in these communities, commencing in the North.
Works are planned for the Villages of Woweta, Rupertee, Annai, Aranaputa, Massara and others.
Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice)
“It is widely known that Region Ten imports more than 85 percent of its food. This year, the NDIA will seek to improve the irrigation in West Watooka to facilitate the cultivation of crops on a larger scale with a view to reducing this region’s dependence on other regions for its food supplies.”
He added that the NDIA is going to be “more proactive” in 2017 with the introduction of a dredge that will greatly improve outfall channels’ capacity for carrying water, thereby significantly decreasing the possibility of flooding especially along the coastland.
There will also be the introduction of a remote telemetric system for NDIA equipment in Regions One to Six and Ten, he added.
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