Flooding unlikely despite anticipated heavy rains

Kaieteur News
January 19, 2007

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Guyanese can gear themselves for persistent rainfalls over the next four or five days, decreasing in intensity and levels gradually.

This pronouncement was made by Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud when he met with media operatives at his office, yesterday.

Reflecting on the floods Guyana experienced two years ago, in 2005, Persaud noted that Guyana is far better prepared to deal with intense rainfalls.

He admitted though that the intensity of rainfall then had exceeded all previous records, reaching in some instances as much as 157 inches, a volume the drainage system could not accommodate.

Persaud explained that the drainage system was built to take off a certain amount of water over a period of time and because Guyana is under sea level drainage was only possible at low tide.

But in order to prevent the fate of two years ago, Persaud disclosed that in excess of $4B was spent to expand the drainage capabilities. As such several pumps operating around the clock have been placed strategically countrywide to rid the land of excess water, the minister noted.

Some of the crucial areas for attention include areas in Regions Four and Five that were severely affected during the flood of 2005 and to a lesser extent in 2006. Also affected were locations in the Pomeroon in Region Two and West Demerara in Region Three. Massive works have also been carried out in the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary areas, the minister asserted.

He said that engineers are in the field at West Demerara where works are being undertaken at Boerasiri. He noted, too, that urgent works are being streamlined for the Belamy Canal, situated behind the Hope Estate, which had become overburdened with water.

According to the minister he was able to secure a pump from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to facilitate the removal of the excess water from that canal.

Additionally 15 excavators have been procured and are working in different regions.

All this is part of the ministry's attempt to expand the drainage capability.

Efforts are also being made to ensure that sluices are opened on time, the minister said.

Persaud noted that while there have been ongoing efforts to improve the drainage system he is hopeful that his ministry will be able to spend a near $1.2B this year to further enhance it.

However, citizens have a responsibility to ensure that they desist from littering their environment, something that has proven to be detrimental.

He is optimistic that there will not be a repeat of the flooding of the recent past.