Dear Editor,

On my way to Charity two days ago I was happy to see that the government has moved swiftly to mobilize two draglines to clean the main canal leading to the Somerset and Berks outfall channel. This is something I have been writing about for years, because the canal was causing serious flooding in the New Road and downstream areas.

Already I have seen the impact on the rice farmers and the residents’ lives; the water has been reduced drastically in the main canal and the housing areas. I was made to understand that after my letter was published in the Stabroek News, a team of officers from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority visited the area and gave the go-ahead to clean the canal.

Farmers in the Lima third depth rice field areas told me that their young rice was destroyed by duckweed after the water submerged their fields for two weeks. They lost all their crops due to poor drainage since the water couldn’t drain off the lands after they broadcast their seeds.

The entire main canal from Anna Regina to Somerset and Berks has been clogged up with antelope grass making it impossible to cultivate rice when there is heavy and constant rainfall. They told me that they had to buy new seed paddy and replough their lands to kill the duckweed. This has put them in more expense which they didn’t cater for.

This canal is about 75 feet wide from the rice fields’ embankment to the embankment of Lima Sands running from east to west, and it’s the main source of storing water for rice crops year round. The canal is about 30 miles long and serves as both a drainage and irrigation canal. For years now no maintenance was carried out on the embankment, which needed to be raised higher.

Owing to the fact that the volume of water which the canal was designed to hold has been much reduced, when the water is released from the Tapakuma lake into the canal and rain is falling constantly, the water flows over the earth embankment.

Water then has to be released through the regulators into the housing areas. It is logical at all times to keep these canals clean, especially the ones leading to the outfall channels. I do hope after the cleaning of this main canal the region will maintain them in good condition so flooding can be something of the past.

The drainage and irrigation engineers in the region should also make efforts to clean the canal from the Somerset and Berks outfall channel going north to the Pomeroon river mouth, and the interconnecting canals from Charity to the Cozier sea dam.

This will help to drain off the excessive water quickly through the Dr Reid self-acting koker and the river mouth. This project should continue along the entire coast of Essequibo and then I am sure there will be a reduction of flooding in the region. It’s time we stopped pointing fingers as to who caused the last flood and work as a team, regardless who voted for the PPP or APNU+ AFC; after all when the flooding occurs everyone is made to suffer.

Yours faithfully,

Mohamed Khan

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