Over $5B in drainage and irrigation upgrades for Region Three – Vice President
─ $1.3B already expended to improve pump capability
The PPP/C Government will be injecting more than $5 billion to strengthen the water systems and tackle drainage and irrigation issues, in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three).
The aggressive move forms part of the administration’s master plan to develop long term strategies for the nation’s drainage and irrigation network, increase agriculture production and maximise land use.
During a community engagement with hundreds of residents of Canal Number One on Friday, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said some $1.3 billion in contracts have already been awarded, with massive pumping capability at A-Line and Main Canal Number One.
The two heavy duty equipment have the capability to process 240 cubic feet of water per second which have seen a huge difference to date.
The government is also working to construct a wider bridge at B-Line, allowing for the installation of two major sluice doors, while major expansion works are also heading to Patentia.
“This is crucial for us (the government). Once the projects get implemented and combined, this will be in excess of $5 billion of infrastructural works right here to improve drainage in this end,” Dr. Jagdeo reiterated.
Back in March, the VP hosted a national consultation on strategic flood protection measures with farmers from Region Two, Three, Five and Six, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
The face-to-face engagement sought to establish a partnership between the administration and the stakeholders on finding workable mechanisms to mitigate flooding problems in the areas.
Dr. Jagdeo said the consultations with citizens coupled with the ongoing drainage and irrigation upgrades is way beyond the capability of the structure, due to climate change.
He explained that if one should thoroughly examine the intensity of rainfall in one night, it is more than what used to be measured historically in one month. This means, there is a dire need for better storage capacity, which the administration is aggressively working to put in place.
“Agriculture is vital, its crucial, but you can’t have agriculture and develop agriculture unless you put proper infrastructure in place, especially the question of drainage and irrigation, and that is something that we are working on since we got into office,” Dr. Jagdeo stressed.
Plans are also in the pipeline to mirror drainage works that were undertaken in Hope, along the East Coast Demerara, to address the devastating flooding situation in Mahaica-Berbice, (Region Five).
“Because the conservancy water was so high and we could not release all into the Demerara River. We had no choice but to release the water into the Mahaica River to prevent the East Coast and Georgetown from flooding,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the VP listened to concerns raised by the residents. While some of the matters were addressed on spot, the remaining concerns will be investigated and those persons will be contacted by the special committee, which was established at the Office of the President to follow up on the issues.