East Demerara conservancy rising to threatening level -Agri Ministry

Mahaica, Mahaicony urged to be on alert for any discharge

The level of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) has been rising to a threatening level and it may necessitate a release of water, the Conservancy Board has said.

Consequently, residents in the upper reaches of the Mahaica/Mahaicony Creek are advised to be alert and to take the necessary precautions should the EDWC Board decide to release the water to prevent any pressure on the conservancy dam.

The EDWC was a major factor in the 2005 Great Flood. There was thought to have been heavy overtopping which caused the chronic flooding on the lower East Coast. When the water reached dangerous levels in the conservancy it was released into the Mahaica Creek prompting weeks of flooding in the Mahaica and Mahaicony Creeks.

Water was released again the following year because of heavy rains and the two creeks were flooded again.

The EDWC and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) yesterday said that there has been no breach or overtopping of the dam and monitoring had been increased.

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall continues to affect Guyana’s coastal regions resulting in flooding in several low-lying areas and high levels in canals, particularly in the upper reaches of the Mahaica and Mahaicony Creeks, in Region 5.

According to information from the Hydrometeorological Service rainfall monitor station located at Wash Clothes in Region Five, approximately five inches of rainfall were recorded during an eight-hour period yesterday. Over the past 36 hours some areas recorded more than 3-8 inches of rainfall which has resulted in the flooding of some areas.

According to a release from the Agriculture Ministry, Robert Persaud and a team of technical officers and engineers visited East and West Berbice to assess the response by the various Regional and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and farmers. The main areas of concern are Manchester, Nigg, Lancaster, Whim, Rose Hall, Liverpool and Canje. (See other story on page 14.)

During the visit, Minister Persaud instructed the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to deploy seven pieces of mechanical drainage equipment to strategic locations to drain affected areas. In addition, the government’s excavators are currently undertaking critical works to reduce accumulated water and sealing of breaches made by farmers at Lancaster/Liverpool.

He also instructed that the government’s excavator be deployed to raise the embankment of the dams surrounding the areas of  Blairmont, Belladrum, Bath, Zorg en Hoop and Mahaicony. These areas in the past have been affected by overtopping of the dams. According to the release, these dams were reportedly sold to private contractors by various NDCs.

The NDIA continues to work with all stakeholders and has implemented several interventions to minimize the effects of flooding. These include:
·    Deployment of a mechanical drainage machine to Montrose
·    Deployment of a mechanical drainage machine to Strathspey
·   Rehabilitation of the embankment within Dochfour Housing Scheme

·  Continue the dredging of the Hope Outfall
·   Excavation of Hope West Main Drainage Canal
·   Excavation of drainage canals in Cane Ville

As the floodwaters recede, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Crop and Livestock Department will continue to have a presence in affected areas and will provide veterinary services and other assistance to affected communities across the various regions. A team will be deployed to the Mahaica, Mahaicony and Abary creeks to provide veterinary and other assistance to farmers tomorrow, December 27, 2008.

Farmers requesting technical and veterinary assistance are asked to contact the officers assigned along the East Coast; Dr. T. Meghoo (622-8264) and Dr. O. Dutson (651-9873).

Meanwhile in Region Two, floodwaters in the Pomeroon/Supenaam areas are receding with the operation of a pump at Charity. Meantime, work is being done to ensure that the Perth Outfall is kept clear of silt.

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