Oil resources to help strengthen Guyana’s water systems – Vice President
Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday said a portion of the oil funds will be used to strengthen Guyana’s water system, as the administration takes an aggressive approach to addressing the decades-long issue.
The Vice President said if the situation has been a challenge in the past, going forward it will get worse, especially since the country is evolving.
To this end, Dr. Jagdeo emphasised that there is an urgent need to implement strategic plans to resolve the issue.
He made the statement, while addressing a number of stakeholders, during a national consultation on strategic flood protection measures, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
“There is a strong need to do so urgently, the cost of doing so is enormous to fix our sea defence to keep the sea out and these water management systems require heavy investment, part of the oil resources have to be spent in this manner.”
The forum allowed regional officials and farmers across Regions Two, Three, Five and Six, to propose and discuss measures, that could be considered to properly manage the water systems within their respective regions.
The plan is to collectively develop a long-term maintenance plan for the country’s drainage and irrigation network, increase agriculture production and maximise land use.
The Vice President explained that 80 percent of the world is suffering from no access to fresh water. And while Guyana has the resource in abundance, the nation is still below sea level.
He explained that in some residential and farming communities there are volumes of water, but the infrastructure is not designed to handle the pressure, thus creating a distressing outcome for citizens, affecting their living conditions.
“We have to fend for ourselves, while we remain engaged with the global process, we in Guyana, we are not sitting on our hands, we would have to ensure that some of our resources are utilised in this manner.
“If we don’t tackle the big issues of water management every single crop or every two crops [will be lost.] We have lost large volumes of our produce and that has not only impacted the overall economy, but at the family level often it has devastating consequences for the people,” the Vice President added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth presented extensively on major drainage plans for the respective regions.
He pointed out several proposals to drain and upgrade canals in the Pomeroon, Region Two, Canals Polder, Region Three, the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary area, Region Five and several areas in Region Six.
The Vice President noted that the consultation will allow the government to make thorough assessments and subsequently put robust systems in place to protect the future of the country.
Though a number of recommendations were given by the stakeholders, several technical officers are expected to visit the regions to continue examining the proposals, as well as look into drainage issues that can be addressed in the short-term.