River defence at Charity under threat

The new wharf under construction

Sections of the Charity River Dam, Essequibo Coast has reportedly dropped two feet and the defence dam is being quickly washed away into the Pomeroon River.

This is according to residents living near the dam and in the Squatting Area. They expressed fear that the Dam will be breached and a massive flood will be the result.

Several persons living in the area said that the dam is being washed away because of the construction of a concrete wharf and gas station that was recently erected there.

“Here was never like this before. If the water come lil more up here and the whole dam wash away, is not only the Squatting area gon flood but the whole of Charity especially how you see the Scheme low already. That is when we nah gon get no more Charity,” one man said.

The new wharf under construction
The new wharf under construction

When Stabroek News visited the area, the tide was high and sections of the eroded dam were clearly visible. Another man, who lives in the Squatting Area, noted that before the construction started, persons were able to walk out further. “You see till at the end deh,” the man said pointing, “you coulda walk out and reach but now you can even reach halfway. Dah is how much the dam wash way. I waiting fuh when spring tide come and see if then the NDC gon hussle fuh do something.”

A section of the dam that has already washed away.
A section of the dam that has already washed away.

When approached by this publication, residents living directly near to the River Dam opted not to comment, saying they “do not want to be involved in anything.”

Meanwhile, when contacted, Region Two Chairman Parmanand Persaud said he was aware of the erosion. “The dam is not caved in according to my knowledge,” Persaud said, “but there were movements of the dam which is the result of the construction of a wharf and the use of heavy duty vehicles that had been

transporting material for construction there.”

Persaud said that he has reported the matter to the Ministry of Public Works but has not received any response thus far. “The approval to construct the wharf was not given by this Region but the persons in charge of the work being done there were given approval directly from the Sea and River Defence Unit. This is a matter I really would like to address but I have to wait for the response from the ministry.”               He also said the Regional Engineer had become involved and reports were made to the relevant agencies.

This publication was told that a large tree that held the soil together at the bank of the river was cut down by contractors of the wharf to facilitate the erection of the structure thus causing the massive erosion.

“This is at the edge of the river. How can you build a concrete gas station here? That is too heavy and of course the whole thing will wash away,” another man complained.   Residents are hoping that something can be done to counteract the problem and that measure can be put in place by the Charity Urasara NDC or the Regional Democratic Council, Region Two in case of flooding.

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