Works have begun to address complains by farmers in Westbury and Dartmouth, Region Two (2), Essequibo Coast, about the intrusion of salt water on to their rice lands.
During a telephone interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Engineer with the National Drainage & Irrigation Authority (NDIA) of Region Two, Jafaun Permansingh, explained that, “over a month ago the sluice (at Westbury) did have some problems, in that it wasn’t working 100%, and heavy wave action from the Atlantic Ocean was causing salt water to seep in.”
He said, that in an effort to rectify the situation, “stop logs were placed on the Atlantic Ocean’s side of the sluice, to reduce the amount of water seeping through the sluice.”
According to the engineer, the buildup of salt water in the rice lands can also be a result of the El Niño situation, which led to a shortage of water in the area. This he explained saw farmers pumping water from the drains onto their rice lands. “Farmers had to pump water from the drainage canals, which had salt content through the seepages (from the Atlantic Ocean),” Permansingh explained.
The Engineer explained that the saline water (water with high concentration of dissolved salt content) which was pumped into the fields, “resulted in some of these detriments…we had to stop some farmers from pumping the water, because when we tested the water, the salt contents were very high.”
Meanwhile, the engineer also explained that there is currently a heavy siltation problem affecting sluices in the Essequibo Region. This has led to the operation of several pumps in the area to reduce the effects of the problem.
“The built up siltation is two feet higher than the water level in land, we are working (operating) a number of sluices to alleviate some of the problems,” the engineer told GINA. He further explained that the brunt of the effect of the siltation is on the front lands. This area is much lower than the surrounding lands.
Siltation is the pollution of water by silt or clay. Silt is defined as mud or fine earth deposited from running or standing water. It refers both to the increased concentration of suspended sediments, and to the increased accumulation (temporary or permanent) of fine sediments. Siltation is most often caused by soil erosion or sediment spill.
In rural areas the erosion source is typically soil deprivation due to intensive or inadequate agricultural practices, leading to soil erosion, primarily in fine-grained soils such as loess. This results in an increased amount of silt and clay in the water bodies that drain the area.
In water the main pollution source is sediment spill from dredging, from the transportation of dredged material on barges, and the deposition of dredged material in or near water. – Source-Merriam Webster and Oxford Dictionaries and Wikipedia.