In anticipation of heavy rains the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) commenced clearing Black Bush outfalls at Joppa, Adventure and Eversham on May 14, 2019. All sluice doors were fully operational by May 23, 2019. The system of clearing outfall channels along the coast is directly dependent on them having sufficient water in the system.
Heavy downpours on the night of May 22, 2019, resulted in flooding of the Yakusari area in Black Bush Polder. Upon investigation, it was determined that the Yakusari main drain was completely blocked with vegetation.
The Regional Democratic Council Region Six (RDC), who has responsibility for the cleaning and maintenance of the main drain, had earlier in the year refused to allow NDIA to take over these responsibilities.
On May 23, the RDC sent in a contractor who unsuccessfully attempted to remove the vegetation from the Yakusari channel. To compound the problem, the contractor “cut and loose” the vegetation which floated to the Joppa pump station. This resulted in the station’s grillwork being damaged and pulled into the sump.
The NDIA was called in to rectify the situation, which resulted in the pump station being inoperable for approximately 18 hours, since operating the pump without the grillwork may have caused long term damage to the pump.
Having concern for the Black Bush farmers, the RDC called in the NDIA for assistance. The NDIA mobilised a contractor with two excavators to excavate the Yakusari channel on May 24, 2019. Progress was slowed, however, due to farmers planting on the dam.
After consultations between the Regional Chairman, Mr. David Armogan and the farmers, the excavators were allowed to continue operation.
Records show that during the seven days – from May 23, 2019 to May 30, 2019 – the RDC operated the 200 cubic foot per second drainage pump at the Joppa pump for only five hours. It is believed that the water levels in the Black Bush area would have seen a significant reduction if the pump was operated as it should.
The water level in the Yakusari area is dropping slowly and NDIA is monitoring the system daily. Rice farmers are also releasing water into the system at this stage of the rice crop.
NDIA has also assisted the RDC by employing five contractors located in Region Six, namely Peter Lewis, Kascon, Memorex, Davidnand Sawh and KP Jagdeo to clear various outfalls in the Region.
Works were executed on outfalls in villages No. 51/52Corentyne, Stanleytown, No. 49 Corentyne, Fort Ordinance and Borlam.
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