Greater importance will be placed on water planning, development and management by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) in the coming year. The Administrative Regions will be receiving new pumps.
his was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder at the Ministry’s end-of-year press conference today, at the Ministry’s Boardroom, Regent Street and Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.
Minister Holder explained that taking into consideration the due cognisance of the effects of global warming on rainfall patterns and the rise of sea level, the Ministry has recognised that the systems must be improved.
The Minister stated that a holistic approach is necessary for proper management on both a technical and managerial level. To this end in 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture will commence the process of mapping facilities and drainage and irrigation (D&I) channels in each region. These maps will show the location and other pertinent data.
Minister Holder noted that this would indicate which works are executed by Water Users’ Associations, Community Development Councils, Farmers’ groups, and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils among others, and would be major assets in depicting the D & I systems.
The major drainage problem in this region is the heavy deposit in the drainage outfall channels between Devonshire Castle and La Union, including Hampton Court, Lima, Anna Regina, Three Friends, Taymouth Manor and Capoey. Minister Holder said that the Ministry has employed a pontoon mounted, by two long boom excavators to keep these channels clear. He pointed out that the system is inefficient as an excavated outfall channel is blocked within a week if there is no heavy rainfall to flush the channel. However, the acquisition of a dredger would significantly improve the efficiency of the drainage systems in these areas mentioned.
The Ministry will focus on the agriculturally underdeveloped area between Locabu and Maripa. It is anticipated that the rehabilitation of drainage infrastructure in this area would serve as a catalyst for the return of farmers to the land.
Focus will be placed on Buxton, East Coast Demerara. This area is drained by a pump station that was constructed in 1927. Minister Holder said it has outlived its usefulness and would be replaced by a new structure.
It was also noted that Buxton, is one of the lowest villages on the East Coast of Demerara and would be efficiently drained after years of constant floods. Additionally, the construction of the new NDIA headquarters’ building will commence in Region Four.
The D&I works in this region are mainly executed by the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary- Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA). However, the NDIA will supplement the works in the Abary – Mahaica area.
Minister Holder pointed out that the MMA-ADA plans to commence the construction of a $300M sluice at D’ Edward Village to replace the 50-year old structure. This will enhance drainage of all residential areas and agricultural land between the Abary and Berbice Rivers.
“Additionally, we will commence Phase two of the Abary/ Mahaicony conservancy with the construction of a 4.5-mile main canal and 10-mile dam. This proposed dam will extend the current Abary/ Berbice conservancy to service agricultural lands between the Abary and Mahaicony Rivers,” Holder explained.
This region is in need of desilting of the outfall channels, each about one mile long at Adventure, Eversham, Joppa and No. 52 Villages, twice per year. This exercise is costly and very sensitive in terms of the rainy seasons. NDIA’s acquisition of a dredger would help to keep these channels clear, Holder stated.
For the first time, the NDIA will be undertaking works in the region. The North and South Rupununi villages have traditionally suffered from inadequate water supplies for their crops and livestock during the dry months of the year. The Agriculture Minister said at today’s press conference, that this has severely affected the residents’ livelihoods, hence, the Ministry will be improving or building rainwater harvesting facilities in these communities, commencing in the North Rupununi.
The villages of Wowetta, Rupertee, Annai, Aranaputa, and Massara among others are also scheduled for works in Region Nine.
Minister Holder pointed out that in 2017, the NDIA will seek to improve the irrigation in West Watooka to facilitate the cultivation of crops on a larger scale with a view towards reducing the region’s dependence on other regions for its food supply.
Minister Holder also stated that there will be the introduction of a remote telemetric system for the NDIA’s equipment in Regions One to Six, and Ten.
Additionally the NDIA is expected to be more proactive in 2017 with the introduction of a dredger that will greatly improve outfall channels’ capacity for carrying water, thereby, significantly decreasing the possibility of flooding, especially along the coastland.