A 4.5 million cubic metres water reservoir at Nappi in the Rupununi was on Saturday handed over to Region Nine and is expected to relieve drought conditions.The water reservoir, according to the Department of Public Information (DPI), was completed in 2017. It was done as a partnership between the government and Conservation International (CI).Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman during the commissioning ceremony told the gathering that the reservoir, which was completed in approximately six months, should be used to enhance the livelihood of Rupununi residents.The reservoir was built after the Rupununi region suffered a severe drought in 2015/2016. Trotman said that the catchment area is part of government’s commitment to ensuring the residents are never so adversely affected by a drought again.The reservoir was engineered and designed by JR Ranch Incorporated and is buttressed by a 450-metre dam, DPI said.Trotman lauded the company for the job done. “That water is clean and can be consumed not just by residents but by the animals also, it is meant to be used to transform your lives… it is yours, you will decide how you will use it for your joint and equal benefits….Don’t see this as another project being handed over, it is time you stand up and start taking care of it,” Trotman emphasised.The water catchment area is a public-private partnership between the government and CI. Technical Director at CI, Curtis Bernard said there will be meetings over the next two months with residents and stakeholders to discuss management of the reservoir.He said that the management design for the catchment area coincides with the plans for regional and by extension national development. “If by building the reservoir the village is worse off because other things in the environment are not working, then that’s not the plan. It must improve your livelihood, so the ministry is collaborating with CI to help you develop your management plan. We will also work to ensure that the ecological aspects of the catchment area are fine.”Ryan Pereira from JR Ranch Incorporated stated the reservoir will significantly reduce vulnerability to drought and other natural hazards, not only in Nappi but also surrounding communities.“My hope is that it achieves and even exceeds its purpose by also helping to build social and economic resilience in the villages. I hope it helps with agriculture and tourism industries,” Pereira said.
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