Buxton canal blocked for construction of second pump station

Workers with General Engineering Supplies and Services Inc drive sheet piles into the recently drained Company Path basin as the work began yesterday to construct a pump station which is expected to alleviate flooding in Buxton. See story on page 10. (Photo by Keno George)

The Company Path canal at Buxton, East Coast Demerara has been blocked and the basin drained as government begins the construction of a second pump station at Buxton.

A source familiar with the drainage situation of the village however assured Sunday Stabroek that although the canal appeared poised to breach its pregnant banks, there is no need for concern.

“This place is really dry and the water is actually very low right now but if it rains then the contractor will have to move the bags and clear the sluice. The level right now has to be maintained so that the farmers can access water and in case of a fire or any other emergency there is water. True, we can’t blow the koker like before but if a situation occurs, the contractor, who seems to have the equipment, will have to clear it,” the source said, while adding that the canal is actually not a drainage canal but a High Level Canal for the removal of overtopping from the Lamaha Canal. “The drainage canals are the sideline canals and they are pretty low right now,” the source stressed. 

Construction workers busy at work in the swamp left behind when the Company Path basin was drained. (Photo by Keno George)

The Department of Public Information (DPI) reported on March 19th that the Ministry of Agriculture, through the National Drainage and Irrigation Autho-rity (NDIA), has spent more than $581 million for the construction and rehabilitation of drainage and irrigation structures at Bux-ton and Triumph, on the East Coast.

The construction and instillation of these drainage and irrigation structures in low-lying areas along the coast are part of heightened flood prevention efforts in preparation for the upcoming May/June rainy season.

However, yesterday when residents of Buxton North were jerked awake to the sound of piles being driven, they were not relieved.

The Company Path Canal has been blocked with sand bags and the accumulated water appears ready to breach its banks. (Photo by Keno George)

Workers from General Engineering Supplies and Services Inc. began the laying of sheet piles just after six in the morning and the noise generated from the process reverberated through the mostly wooden homes in the vicinity of the construction.

When Sunday Stabroek visited the site, the labourers present could provide little detail about what safety measures were, or should be, followed and in fact most of the men claimed not to be aware of the name of their employer.

Asked about the expected completion date of the project and its impact on the drainage situation in the interim, the men were unable to answer, noting only that the basin had to be drained and the canal blocked to facilitate the work.

This station is one of two being constructed in the Buxton area with a second station at Friendship/Vigilance set to be complete by next month.

DPI has reported that the Agriculture Sector Development Unit (ASDU)  is responsible for facilitating the construction of the three pump stations located at Lusignan, Friendship/Vigilance and Enmore, a project which is being funded by the World Bank at a cost of $1,407,345,410. It also includes the rehabilitation of 4 kilometres of the dam from the Hope intake structure to the Enmore intake structure.

The drainage capacity of the pumps at Lusignan and Enmore is 3 m/s³ while the Friendship/ Vigilance pump will have a drainage capacity of 2 m/s³. These pump stations are expected to be commissioned in April, 2018.

Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, is reported to have said during a visit of the various sites that government is improving the country’s overall drainage capacity, especially in communities that have been without proper drainage and irrigation for decades.

“With the effects of climate change globally resulting in rising sea levels, more pumps are needed along Guyana’s coast to increase our drainage capacity. With this in mind, the ministry through the ASDU and the NDIA are in the process of constructing several structures that will significantly improve the lives of farmers and residents along the entire coast. Construction of these structures fall under the ministry’s flood risk management efforts that involves a series of works of this nature being undertaken within the next two years.” Minister Holder said.

During the site visit, Minister Holder urged the engineers to keep in mind the approaching rainy season and to ensure that works are on schedule.

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