Farmers at Cane Grove, Mahaica on the East Coast Demerara (ECD) are expected to benefit from the recent rehabilitation of the electrical pump station in the community.
The facility was rehabilitated at a cost of approximately $60 million and will see the three pump units at the station being able to operate at a capacity to outsource some 112,500 gallons or water per minute from the drainage canals in the area.
At a commissioning ceremony held at the location yesterday, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud noted that the community will be able to benefit from the maximum use of all the units at the facility. Persaud recalled that there was a time when infrastructure was neglected, adding that the Cane Grove facility fell into that category. He said government, since it came into office, has been working to ensure that all farming areas benefit from the use of adequate and functioning drainage and irrigation facilities.
Persaud said the facility at Cane Grove will drain some 7,000 acres of farmland. He said the area was one of several which had been threatened by flooding owing to persistent rainfall in recent times. He said that as climate change continues to affect areas in the country, there was need for residents and persons living in low lying areas to adapt to such conditions.
Agriculture Ministry engineer Freddy Flatts told the gathering earlier which included farmers from the community, that the facility will be able to operate 50% more than its operational capacity prior to its rehabilitation.
He said the installation of a new 1000 kva transformer and switch as well as the installation of new cables and power switches will see the pump being able to significantly improve output thereby effectively draining the Cane Grove area.
He said the project is part of the government’s overall agriculture support services programme which will see similar interventions being made at Victoria and at Greenfield on the ECD.
He said the overall cost associated with the programme was in the vicinity of $161 million.
Flatts said the general project is almost 90% complete and work at the Cane Grove station had been temporarily disrupted owing to bad weather earlier in the year while similar problems had impacted on works at the other facilities.
National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) head Lionel Wordsworth said the project is part of the authority’s programme aimed at strengthening drainage and irrigation systems across the country. He said the facility was an important aspect of the D&I system on the coastland noting that this year the country experienced unusual levels of flooding owing to persistent rainfall.
Bhagwandin Ramsarran, Chairman of the Cane Grove Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) told the gathering that the facility’s unveiling was a welcome initiative for the area, which had experienced significant periods of flooding over the years during the rainy season. “It will bring about a lot of relief for the farmers,” Ramsaran said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Chairman of the Cane Grove Water User’s Association Desmond Pitt who said that the project was one of several which the authorities have initiated and put on stream at Cane Grove.
He said the organisation has been mandated to oversee such projects and the community will benefit from the newly refurbished facility in the long run.
Persaud said Cane Grove remains a pivotal contributor to the rice industry, and he assured those gathered that the administration will continue to provide them with the necessary support.