Increased water supply for hinterland communities
─ extensive drainage works done along the coast – Mid-Year Report states
DPI, Guyana, Friday, August 23, 2019
Several hinterland communities have benefitted from increased water supplies due to the establishment of eight water reservoirs by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).
According to the recently released Ministry of Finance’s Mid-Year report, “additional reservoirs will be constructed in St. Ignatius, Kumu, Quarrie and Shulinab, with works expected to be completed by December 2019”.
In addition to this, the NDIA has also completed twelve drainage and irrigation structures and water systems. These include the construction of a drainage and irrigation system at Friendly Farmers Scheme; a conveyance Canal at No.66 Village, Corentyne; a greenheart timber revetment at the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) and a main irrigation control structure at Barnwell North.
The works will help to critically reduce instances of flooding in these areas while simultaneously helping to improve agricultural production. Also, to improve drainage significantly along the coast, there was the advancement of the construction of eight pump stations in the first half of 2019.
Three mobile pumps are also scheduled to arrive in Guyana in November of this year. This will further boost the capacity of the NDIA to control and alleviate flooding. It will also provide relief to farmers and residents in flood-prone communities.
The Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary/Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) has also been carrying out works on the construction of the D’Edward Sluice. Notably, at the mid-year point, it was about 50% nearing completion.
These are among some of the initiatives being enacted to combat inundating in flood-prone communities along the coastal region. In this regard, the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder has indicated that increased drainage capacity and increased maintenance cost for drainage does not necessarily equate to increased production. He posited that this means that we would be producing the same amount of agricultural produce with increasing drainage costs.
As such, Minister Holder has signalled that the goal will be to steer agricultural production inland whilst moving into more non-traditional crops.
“Moving into the hinterland area or higher ground has other considerations. Guyana is 80% forested, and being a signatory to the climate agreement internationally, we are discouraged from clearing forest to plant crops. So, we have to conserve our forests; which means that our expansion in agriculture is largely limited to our Intermediate Savannahs, which is behind the coastland and the Rupununi Savannahs in the southern part of the country and that is where our agricultural thrust will be.”