Heavy rains pounded the Mahaicony Creek area yesterday making it difficult for floodwaters to recede even as farmers slammed the agencies responsible for drainage and irrigation in the area for not taking proactive measures during the dry season to prepare for the rainy season.
“Well about an inch went down since yesterday but they still got a lot of water in places. In some yards they still got about four inches of water, and on the land, they still got about two feet of water,” Chabinauth Deolall, a farmer from Gordon Table, told Stabroek News yesterday. He said that it had been raining heavily since 10am yesterday and up to late yesterday afternoon, the rain had not eased.
Farmers were critical of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Mahaica, Mahaicony, Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) for not taking action during the dry season to prepare for the rainy season.
Deolall told Stabroek News that significant amounts of water remain in the rice lands and if it does not go down soon, he stands to lose about 15 acres of rice. However, while the koker at Mora Point was fully opened, according to one of the farmers, there is not much the NDIA or MMA-ADA can do at this point in time to speed the removal of water.
“Is not just the yard you gotto study. Yeah the water going down in the yard which is good but you gotto remember that they got land in front of the yard that still got about two feet of water in most places and some people would have their gardens there and of course you can’t see that now,” Deolall said.
“What they needed to do was act faster in the dry season. The river needs to be dredged and when you go to the mouth, you can walk there because of how clogged it is and it’s since PPP/C time it was like that,” Lowlayswar Shrikant, another farmer who returned from Canada in 2005 and has been living in Gordon Table ever since, explained to Stabroek News yesterday.
“Well the koker is fully opened now and that’s the only one that leads out of the river so if that is opened and the water is going down, then there is nothing much more they can do. They should’ve dig the river and all the channels and rice lands in the dry season,” he said. He pointed out that during the two rainy seasons in the year, the area would always flood and swifter action needs to be taken by the MMA-ADA and the NDIA.
“What I can’t understand is that this thing does happen all de time, every year and yet nobody seem to be putting preventative measures in place. They does just wait until we flood to open the koker and use the pump and after that nothing else don’t happen,” one of the farmers said.
He emphasised that the entire river needs to be dredged, especially the mouth of the river. “Right now they can’t do anything now cause the rain falling nuff and the water coming down from the backlands and we caught between a rock and a hard place. We just hoping that when the tide raise, the water don’t come up high because then no water gon go nowhere and then for sure we will be caught between a rock and a hard place,” he said.
“You know, back when I was a small boy, this river used to produce everything. Vegetables, milk, fruits and all sorts of other things but this flooding thing move people away. People get fed up of living in these conditions and they move away and if they find an effective plan to deal with it, then people will come back and invest,” Shrikant told Stabroek News. He said that he has not been able to estimate his total loss and would not be able to do so until the water completely recedes.
Highlighting the current condition of the dam around the rice farmers, Bobby (only name given) another farmer, said that if a proper road is built, then they would experience less stress. “It’s been like this for a very long time…and every time the rain fall heavy, this is what happens. You have to take the chance and pray you don’t stick up and even when you get to reap, you have to either pay a pontoon which is very expensive, or try again and go through the dam and hope you don’t get stick,” the man explained. He pleaded with the authorities to assist them with a proper road so that they can freely traverse without any hindrance to access their crops.
Stabroek News had previously reported that several areas in Region Five were experiencing flooding, owing to excess water flowing down the Mahaicony Creek. Areas such as Trafalgar, Lovely Lass, Number 29, 30 and 31 villages were inundated, mostly because the main koker and channel in Trafalgar were blocked and the water from the excess rainfall coursing down the river was unable to flow through to the sea. Moraikobai and areas in the Mahaicony Creek also experienced heavy flooding due to the rainfall and drainage issues.
The NDIA in collaboration with the MMA-ADA had sent several excavators and pumps around the region to aid with drainage.
The water had completely receded in West Coast Berbice areas over the weekend, but the Mahaicony Creek areas remained under several inches of water due to the continuing rainfall and the pump at Pine Ground not receiving fuel to work over the weekend.