Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder today met with a team from the World Bank to discuss the progress of the Cunha Canal Rehabilitation project. The project was officially signed on in February 2016 at the Ministry of Finance by the Finance Minister and World Bank Representatives. It will see rehabilitation of the drainage canal, construction and rehabilitation of sluices and the construction of a bridge on the East Bank of Demerara Public Road. The World Bank is injecting US $3M into the project which will ultimately improve the relief capacity of the East Demerara Water Conservancy system by lowering of the risk of water levels exceeding safe operating levels.
In addition to flood relief, the project will also satisfy a development objective which is to improve the drainage in agricultural areas on the East Bank of Demerara that drain to the Bandarima Creek and Sarah Johanna Canal. These areas will now be able to have an increase in agricultural production since areas that previously lodged water will be drained and available for cultivation.
Speaking on the progression of the project Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist Mr. Armando Guzman stated that the Cunha Canal Rehabilitation project also included a compensation component that includes a one off payment to Berama Company Limited.
Under the Flood Risk Management Project, $11.9M USD was injected by the World Bank and implemented by the Agriculture Sector Development Unit (ASDU) under the Ministry of Agriculture. The project will see the reconstruction of 4km of the North Eastern Dam of the East Demerara Water Conservancy as well as the construction of three pump stations at Hope/Enmore, Lusignan and Buxton Friendship. Tenders were recently submitted for the reconstruction of the dam while tenders for the pump stations are expected to be advertised by the end of April 2016.
Minister Holder also enquired about the engineering aspect of the project as it relates to the construction of the dam and was assured the all the relevant studies were completed as it relates to the structure’s capacity to stand up to the challenges that the rainy season will bring.
The team of specialist will be collectively working with the Agriculture Sector Development Unit (ASDU) and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to ensure the project is successfully completed over the next three years.