Comprehensive water resource management plan in place – President Ali
-management committee to be re-established early this year
His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali said the government has in place a comprehensive plan to deal with water resource management in Guyana.
President Ali was speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement at the State House, Georgetown on Thursday.
He said the water resource management committee will be re-established early this year to deal with stormwater and groundwater, as well as surface water management and development.
With over 80 per cent of Guyanese living along the coast and the massive industrial development underway in the capital city, President Ali said there is a need for a massive expansion of the drainage system along the coastline.
“We have already surmised that we need a massive expansion of pumps and pumping stations across the coastline because we have to deal with things realistically,” he underscored.
There is also a huge demand for land for housing and agriculture on the coast.
President Ali revealed that the country is almost at 100 per cent utilisation of lands available for housing.
“We’re at a critical point in terms of land that should be left for the wet zone, land that is available for agricultural development.
“So, what we have to use to utilise technology, utilise now the type of equipment that will enable us to take the water off of the land and that is the more dynamic pumping system in terms of getting the water off…that is going to be part of the integrated water resource management framework that we’re working on developing,” he explained.
The private sector raised concerns about there not being enough areas to store water during a prolonged rainy season and high tide.
Meanwhile, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo noted that the majority of the storage area has been utilised due to the pressure for housing.
He referred to the Hope Canal which was built by the PPP/C Administration to provide drainage from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Vice President said when the government was constructing that canal, several individuals and organisations were against that project.
Had that project not been in place, he explained that the entire East Coast Demerara and Region Five would have been under threat of flooding.
“When we started building the Hope Canal because we recognise that if every rainy season, we had to release water into the Mahaica Creek it would flood the whole of Region Five million dollars of losses, US$$30 million one year. It costs us about $US16 million. So, in a single year loss from flooding could pay back for the Hope Canal,” the VP noted.
Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, Senior Minister in the Office of the President, Dr Ashni Singh, and other government ministers were also in attendance.