Coomacka erosion correction project taking shape

– NDIA also dredging the Upper Demerara River

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, December 18, 2019

 The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), has embarked on an erosion correction project in the mining community of Coomacka Upper Demerara River, Region 10.

The exercise will reduce the depositing of bauxite sediments and other aggregates into the Demerara River when it rains.


The reinforced laterite dam being constructed by NDIA as part of the erosion correction issue

A large section of the river has become virtually impassable with sediment forming a massive sandbank across it, affecting both residents and the environment.

The NDIA is currently constructing an embankment across the main channel to reduce the deposits. Regional Engineer Jeremy Douglas said that while this would not fully solve the problem, it would see a significant reduction in the volume of aggregates filtering into the river.

He explained that two tubes would be installed to allow the water to build up before overflowing and entering the river.

“While it is building up, most of the siltation will be behind the dam and only water would be coming up, so in the long term, reducing siltation in the river,” Douglas said.

The NDIA is also dredging the river to remove aggregates and clear other areas. Douglas related that approximately 9,500 cubic feet of aggregate would be removed.  The NDIA had estimated that the project would cost some $47Million.

There will also be efforts to alleviate flooding in the surrounding community while the project includes a land reclamation by revegetation component.

Regional Chairman, Renis Morian, expressed relief that the situation was finally being addressed. He added that the erosion in the community was an issue since he served as a Regional Councillor and that engagements with the previous administration to have the issue addressed, proved futile.


The reinforced laterite dam being constructed by NDIA as part of the erosion correction issue

Several other communities close to the mined-out areas are under similar environmental threats.

One of these is Block 22, on the Wismar River shore. The Future Development Economic Strategy, a cooperative, has embarked on a revegetation project in the Block 22, Lucky Spot Mining area. The project entails the planting of 1,000 acacia plants to rebuild the land, which lost most of its topsoil during mining.