Close flood watch continues By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
December 24, 2006

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THERE has been no report of flooding with the onset of heavy rainfall, but there is need for continuous monitoring and vigilance, Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Robert Persaud cautioned yesterday.

He stressed the point to reporters at the drainage sluice at Hope, East Coast Demerara where desilting was under way to clear a blocked outfall.

On Friday night, the silted channel prevented the outflow of water from heavy rain, resulting in rising water levels in the village, with the yards of some residents flooded.

However, officials of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) promptly mobilised a privately-owned excavator and work to clear the outfall began the same night.

By yesterday morning the water level in the village had dropped significantly and the situation was back to normal.

There was also some rise in water levels in Cane Grove, also on the East Coast, caused by a sluice door being left open beyond the scheduled period as a result of the koker attendant not reporting for duty on time.

NDIA Senior Engineer, Mr. Lionel Wordsworth, told this newspaper the door was left open from 00:01 h to 00:06 h Thursday, resulting in an influx of water to the community.

However, he said, the NDIA responded promptly and was able to get the door closed and bring the situation under control.

Persaud said the attendant falls under the administration of Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica) and Chairman, Mr. Clement Corlett has assured him that the incident will be investigated and disciplinary action will be taken if the attendant is found to have been negligent.

Persaud indicated that monitoring of all drainage systems throughout the country is ongoing as a pre-emptive approach to the situation is being adopted and similar work to that under way at Hope is also being carried out in other areas where this is necessary.

The minister said a drainage pump at Canals Polder, West Bank Demerara, is down due to mechanical problems but all efforts are being made to have it expeditiously fixed.

Also on the West Coast Demerara, at Crane, Persaud said the sea defence has a breach and while the area is unpopulated it would have to be repaired quickly so that the situation does not escalate.

Asked about how well the community drainage maintenance programme is functioning with respect to clearing secondary and tertiary drainage systems, the minister said it is working effectively, but in some areas work needs to be accelerated.

He said there is also a need to address the issue of people dumping refuse and garbage in drains and canals.

Chairman of the NDIA Board, Mr. Walter Willis, said the water level in the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) is well below its threshold and every effort is made to keep it that way to allow for at least one foot of “free board.”

He said the latest report indicates that the level of the conservancy is at 55.6 GD (Georgetown Data), while the threshold level is 58.6 GD.