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Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honor to welcome you all to this commissioning ceremony of the Lima Drainage Pump Station.

 Building this pump station at Lima was strategical place since Lima has the largest watershed acreage. However this pump station has far reaching benefits to other locations such as La Belle Alliance, Lima, Coffee Grove, Ankuku, Additional Sparta, Windsor castle, Hampton Court, Anna Regina, Richmond, Henrietta.

These areas have vast agricultural standings with rice cultivation as the main activity, specifically some 3,187 acres of rice land will benefit and an additional 8000 acres of connected areas with many activities including cash crop farming and other commercial undertakings.

The agriculture sector, like many others, are extremely sensitive to vastly changing weather conditions. Because of these reasons, the Ministry of Agriculture and particularly the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) concentrates on best practices in the drainage and irrigation sector. In 2015 NDIA received G$1.6Billion to manage, provide, improve and extend, agricultural water resource capacity, this is one of the largest share of the Ministry’s budget in recent past and it is still inadequate.

 Additionally, Region 2 allocated G$ 95.5Million to the Maintenance of D&I works, this is a 3% increase from 2014 to 2015 for this budget line.This government will continue to carry out all necessary works to be done in region 2 especially in agriculture and particularly in drainage and irrigation.

It is expected that the occurrences of flooding in the area will be significantly reduced with the operation of this new pump station.The Pump Station has the capacity to remove 200 cubic feet of water per second (cusec). This represent a 150% increase in pumping capacity at this station.This means that for every inch of rainfall the water will drain faster.The pump will also assist in clearing the outfall channel due to the heavy siltation – what do I mean by this? With the extra 120cubic feet of water per second with this new pump, the extra discharge will assist in the clearing of sediments that would cause blockage of the outfall.

The construction of this Pump Station has an estimated cost of G$ 191 Million for the infrastructural work. This include the construction of concrete inlet channels, timber revetment, a metal pump house, a 2,000-litre fuel tank,an Operator houseand the road to the pump station.

The effects of proper drainage have positive impacts from an agricultural perspective, some of these include salinity control, flooding, crop yield, soil erosion, water supply among others.This investment will directly benefit 435 farmers and indirectly benefit 700 farmers linked to network. These farmers will be able to increase their acreage and yield thus reducing losses and increasing profits. Today, farmers can be assured that the fear of flooding would now be minimal. I urge you to ensure your drains and channels are cleaned of weeds to ensure you can realized the benefit of this increase pumping capacity.

Flood risk management is built around the drainage and irrigation infrastructure and should be everybody business. We have coastal defence infrastructure that includes sea defence and with some residual mangrove to provide additional protection, especially in Regions 1 and 2. NAREI’s Mangrove Restoration Project aims to augment Guyana’s sea defence by protecting, restoring and managing the natural coastline barrier provided by our mangrove forests.

Right here at Lima, the NAREI has planted and restored an area of 450 meters by 80 meters of mangroves, they have natural regeneration of 350 meters and rapid growth of 1300 meters in height. I would like to implore our citizen here today to take responsibility for the maintenance of this infrastructure. I request you to be a part of the Volunteer Mangrove Action Committee. Treat it like it is your own. Use it and be engaged in the decision making process.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as a Government we plan to repair and dredge canals and drainage systems to reduce any vulnerability of our agriculture system by the destruction of floods. As part of our Agriculture Disaster Plan, we will build more relief channels, more sluices to release water into the ocean and rivers, continue install more pumps to complement the sluices and increase the holding capacity of water conservancies. Going forward, we will continue to work with the Water Users Association to improve on the cost effectiveness of proper water management while extending and rehabilitating the network capacity of Drainage and Irrigation in Guyana.

Ladies and Gentlemen, rest assured that we are actively working to provide the necessary investments in infrastructure to raise your quality of life through proper drainage and irrigation. While there is much more to be done,I can assure you that my government is resolute to increase the discharge capacity.

 The Ministry of Agriculture,through the NDIA, will implement aggressive plans for upgrading and rehabilitating drainage and irrigation infrastructure to all regions of Guyana to ensure optimum capacity in drainage and irrigation systems.

Together we can restore our drainage and irrigation system which will offer a better way of life for all Guyanese.

Thank You

NLH
January 4 2016

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