EDWC flood control plan moves ahead

The initial results of the modelling exercise for the master plan for enhancing flood control capacity within the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) and the lowland drainage system are expected to be available in the first half of 2012.

The project falls under the World Bank-funded US$3.8 million Conservancy Adapta-tion Project (CAP), which is financing the development of the technical foundation for a master plan of future interventions within the EDWC and lowland drainage systems, as well as specific short term upgrading works and operational improvements aimed at enhancing the flood control capacity of the EDWC.

In the light of recent flooding, which saw the authorities opening the Maduni sluice resulting in the flooding of farmlands along the Mahaica and Mahaicony rivers, questions have been raised about the status of the project.

Former minister of agriculture and current minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. Last year March, the government and Mott McDonald from the United Kingdom and CEMCO Inc signed the main US$2.7 million consultancy contract under the CAP for a “comprehensive” study and assessment on the EDWC.  The contract also covered studies which will allow for a better understanding of how the conservancy operates and what interventions are best needed to better manage flood conditions.

Stabroek News has learnt that to date under the Project, targeted improvements for conservancy infrastructure have been completed and the data collection phase, involving aerial photography and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging-the technology used for mapping topography) imaging, for the modelling exercise that will form the basis for the master plan, has also been completed. It is anticipated the initial results of the modelling exercise will be available in the first half of 2012.

Up to last August, 90% of the grant resources have been contracted, including the major contract under the grant and this provided the basis for the extension of the project to March 31, 2013 in order to complete these activities. Up to that time, disbursement for the project overall was at 38%.

The floods of 2005 and 2006 highlighted the significance of the risks posed by the weakened containment and drainage capacities of the EDWC system and with flooding re-occurring the following year, the Guyana government and the international community recognized flood management to be crucial to Guyana’s economic, social and political well-being. In response to these needs, the government requested the World Bank to develop the CAP, which underwent technical, safeguards, fiduciary and procurement appraisal and was approved by the World Bank’s Board in October 11, 2007, with financing from the Global Environment Facility Special Climate Change Fund. The original closing date for the project was June 30 last year but it has since been extended to March 31, 2013.

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