More pumps thrown into drainage efforts

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— emergency $30M pump due today
AN EMERGENCY mobile pump ordered from overseas is due here today to bolster the coordinated drive to drain excess water from villages and prime farmlands hit by record rainfall since last month.

Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said yesterday the heavy duty hydro-flow pump which cost G$30M was ordered from Miami.

It will provide extra capacity to the programme by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to get accumulated water off land in various regions affected by heavy rainfall, he said.

The minister also reported that about 15 irrigators from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) have been deployed to back up the more than 70 pumps being used in the accelerated bid to drain off the water.

“The goal is to use the break in the weather to drain as much as possible because more heavy rains are forecast”, he told the Guyana Chronicle.

Weather officials say the heavy rainfall, higher in some parts of the country than the downpours that spawned the disastrous 2005 floods, is expected to run into March-April.

Statistics issued by the Agriculture Ministry show rainfall last month was higher by 710mm in Boerasirie than in December 2005.

In Enmore, East Coast Demerara, rainfall last month was 540mm above the figure recorded in December 2005; in Whim, East Berbice it was 490mm higher and in Leonora, West Coast Demerara, the figure was 410mm, the ministry said.

Persaud said reports yesterday pointed to “significant drying off” in some flooded parts of the coast and the water level in the 100 square mile East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) was down.

The EDWC board this week ordered a release of water from the conservancy through the Maduni Creek to ease pressure on the basin’s earthen dams and the minister said the board will have to advise when it is safe to stop the draining.

The water released through the Maduni has hit farms and communities and the government has promised help for those who have lost crops and livestock there and other places.

The Agriculture Ministry yesterday said it has redeployed technical staff and equipment to critical areas from sections that have been drained and critical works were continuing in anticipation of the extended rainy season.

The NDIA said some farmers and residents in affected areas are tampering with government drainage infrastructure, including cutting dams, dumping debris in the vicinity of critical drainage pumps and blocking other structures.

The NDIA warned that it is illegal for persons to tamper with government drainage infrastructure and those found guilty will be prosecuted according to the NDIA Act.

The ministry said the water level is receding in the Pomeroon River and the NDIA 250-ton pontoon with two dredges is to be deployed to clear the heavily silted outfall at Windsor Forest, La Jalousie and Blankenburg on the West Coast Demerara.

It also reported that water accumulated in Canals Polder One and Two is gradually dropping.

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