Residents of Enmore have been urged to be responsible in their solid waste disposal so as to best enjoy the benefits of the newly commissioned drainage pump station in their community.
“Let us not take one step forward and three steps backward, especially with regards to these very expensive, very sensitive and very important structures,” Director of the Agriculture Sector Development Unit George Jervis told those gathered yesterday for the commissioning of the $412 million pump station.
Jervis elaborated on a statement made by Director of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) Fredrick Flatts, who said that while government has been installing pump stations across the country these efforts have been stymied by the actions of residents.
Flatts noted that a bag of garbage thrown into a water way damaged a pump in Region Six to the tune of $5 million. According to Jervis, that sum which had been allocated for something else now needs to be redirected.
“Most of the problems we have with structures can be avoided simply by us recognising it is ours and if it is damaged it has to be repaired from somewhere and that somewhere is something that has been planned beforehand…we planned to do an additional six pumps but we have to repair two that were damaged,” Jervis shared.
A representative of the Hope/Enmore Neighbourhood Democratic Council, however, indicated that he was confident that residents in the community would use continue to use the waterways respectfully.
“The culture of the Enmore residents will remain the same. Enmore residents are not known to misuse the waterways. They are not known to throw garbage in the waterways,” he indicated, while expressing gratitude for what he described as the first government project in the community for several years.
As part of the $2.2 billion (US$11 million) World Bank-funded Conservancy Adaptation Project (CAP), the NDIA has set out to reduce the risk of flooding in the low lying areas of East Demerara by carrying out priority flood risk reduction investment in the East Coast Demerara Drainage System.
The station, which has the capacity to pump more than 95,000 gallons per minute, is part of that investment.
Speaking at the Commissioning yesterday, World Bank representative Pierre Nadji stressed that pumping stations positively affect the everyday life of citizens across Guyana as flooding is an everyday threat. He, therefore, noted that the building of these stations is ongoing work that must be continued.
“I have been supervising the Guyana programme for four years and I have noted a very solid acceleration of achievements in the past two years. For that, I really commend the government and the local communities,” Nadji told the gathering while advising that the importance of flood risk management should remain in focus even as Guyana prepares to become an oil producing state.
Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder, who delivered the feature address, noted that flooding risk management is a critical area of focus for government, as Guyana is highly vulnerable to this type of natural disaster. As a result, the Ministry, through a re-organised NDIA, has been working to manage water in a more deliberate and structured manner, looking at the unique needs of each region and allocating the resources to implement the relevant plans.
He noted that the CAP had conducted engineering studies which allowed government to prioritize its investment in critical areas, such as areas of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) which are vulnerable to breaches or overtopping. As a result, the project has addressed the upgrading of critical sectors of the EDWC north-east dam to the criteria set out in the construction supervision and quality assurance plan which allows for robust dam construction and dam quality. Holder explained that NDIA is currently reconstructing a part of the dam from Hope to Flagstaff, constructing three drainage pump stations and purchasing earth moving equipment to upgrade and maintain the dam.
The CAP loan agreement, which was signed in 2014, specifically provides for the allocation of US$3.19 million to improve the coastal drainage systems, including the installation of pumps; reconstruction of culverts and widening of canals. The Hope/Enmore pump station is the third pump station to be completed this year following the Lusignan and Friendship/ Viglance pump stations. A fourth station at Buxton is currently under construction.