President Bharrat Jagdeo is hoping that work on a canal that will constantly drain water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) into the Atlantic Ocean can begin within six months.
The Head of State made this announcement yesterday during a media briefing held at the Office of the President.
Expenditure for this project will be reflected in this year’s budget, which is expected to be presented to the National Assembly by February, the President said.
On Monday, while visiting the Abary, Mahaicony and Mahaica creeks, the President said that $3B will be dedicated to this project. Jagdeo insisted that this initiative is being treated as a priority and that certain projects such as the construction of roads will be held back so as to ensure that the project is completed by June 2010.
Currently, water, when it is near the top of the conservancy which can hold 59 GD, is drained through the Mahaica creek, which affects thousands of residents in neighbouring areas.
About two weeks ago, water from the EDWC was released through the Maduni and later the Lama sluices which added to the rain water which had already accumulated on the land.
Meantime, Jagdeo pointed out that when the canal is dug it will not totally eliminate flooding in these areas but will help to greatly reduce the problem.
Further, the President said that the flooding in these regions has come about because of the above average rainfall. Jagdeo said that he had asked members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to fly over to see if creeks are blocked in interior locations and these searches have not shown any major blockages.
Meanwhile $100M has been allocated to assist farmers from the areas which have been severely affected by flooding.
The President was adamant that only residents in the severely affected areas will benefit.
According to the president residents of Dochfour and Victoria will most likely not benefit from this initiative.
He said that the floodwaters in these areas did not permanently remain at high levels for extended periods of times. He said that waters in these areas had begun to recede before the rainfall restarted.
The President also said that work on the Conser-vancy Relief Channel at Hope on the East Coast of Demerara will be done by a private contractor.
The failure of the koker at this location to properly function has been one of the main reason for the prolonged accumulation of water in areas such as Dochfour and Victoria on the East Coast.
Yesterday, an advertisement was placed by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority inviting bids for consultancy services for the engineering design of the EDWC relief channel at Hope.
The Head of State said that this project was a major one and suggested that whoever is granted the tender will have a huge task on their hands and will come under lots of scrutiny.
Tenders have to be submitted by January 20, 2009. Critics have argued that the government should have already had this canal built considering that it was recommended when the Great Flood occurred in 2005.