Two more Water Users Associations sign agreement
-Will commence work shortly
Guyana Chronicle
June 30, 2004

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GINA - An additional two Water Users Associations (WUAs) have signed agreements and have received cheques to commence work. The ceremony took place Monday in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The two groups that received their this week are the Victoria/Golden Grove and the Den Amstel/Friendship Water Users Association.

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Other Crops and Livestock Satyadeow Sawh noted that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently approved a loan of $25M US, to assist in empowering farmers in the management of the secondary drainage systems.

The National Drainage and Irrigation Board will continue to manage the primary drainage systems.

Minister Sawh said with this new system of management, the destruction of crops and livestock due to excess water will be minimal.

The Minister stated that persons must be conscious of the situation, for although the present structures are working, they need constant maintenance. He said the Associations must act in accordance with the proper procedures and must be accountable.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Dindiyal Permaul, told farmers that the funding is to be used for the purchase of necessary office furniture and equipment to ‘kick-start’ the project. He urged that the groups cooperate to deliver a better and more efficient service.

Six WUAs received cheques earlier this month. These include groups from Crabwood Creek, Vergenoegen-Bonasika, Canals Polder, Cane Grove, Black Bush Polder and Vreed-en-Hoop-La Jalousie.

The establishment of the Water Users Associations will allow for proper maintenance of the drainage and irrigation structures and assist farmers in playing a more integral role in the management of their water supply.

Government has been working continuously to improve drainage and irrigation systems countrywide in order to minimise the effects of flooding. To this end, Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed an agreement for an investment component for the agriculture sector, the ASSP. The consultancy contract, valued at $261.6M, was awarded to a UK consultancy firm, Mott MacDonald.

The ASSP is expected to finance, among other components, the rehabilitation of nine selected areas totalling 120,934 acres. The nine areas earmarked for works include Vergenoegen-Bonasika, Den Amstel-Friendship, Vreed-en-Hoop-La Jalousie, Canals Polder, Cane Grove, Golden Grove-Victoria, Black Bush Polder and Crabwood Creek.

In 1996, Government implemented an Agricultural Sector Loan (ASL) to improve the environmental framework and to develop drainage and irrigation policy, legal framework and administration.

The programme design entails a feasibility study. The Government of Guyana and the IDB have agreed on three principles to guide the investments in the capital works within the primary and secondary D&I systems.

These principles include: Local Participation - new D&I legislation is expected to formalise a system for financing O&M of D&I that recognises a distinction between public and private elements; Sustainability - adequate maintenance is the key to sustainable D&I systems, as unsustainably maintained systems result in reduced capacities and shortened life; and modernisation - the GOG plans not only to improve agriculture productivity on existing lands but to expand the agricultural acreage as well. Modernisation also requires improved technology and a higher level of human resource performance.

The objectives of the consultancy contract include drainage and irrigation feasibility studies; drainage and irrigation designs for D&I systems identified in the terms of reference; and the preparation of bidding documents for implementation of the D&I system rehabilitation plan. The contract duration is for one year.

Last year, a workshop sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) was held at the La Bonne Intention (LBI) estate of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO). This workshop had, among its objectives, a discussion of the experiences of other countries where management responsibility for drainage and irrigation was transferred to farmers, and to apply the lessons learnt to Guyana's situation.