THE various works being effected on the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) Northern Relief Channel, the Hope Canal, are progressing well and are within cost, Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has disclosed.
He told the Guyana Chronicle that one of the four components — the conservancy head regulator – has been completed, but a wrench has still to be installed. “This piece of equipment is being sourced, but it is a one-hour undertaking; so the head regulator is more or less completed,” Dr. Ramsammy said.
He added that another of the four components, the more-than-10-kilometre channel from the EDWC, is mostly done, but there are sections “strategically” left undone; and works on the embankment have also been completed.
“As it relates to the embankment, there is still some work, in terms of shaping, to be done. This will be a continuous process over the next few years, because we have to wait for it to settle; so there will have to be some shaping and reshaping,” Minister Ramsammy said.
Dr. Ramsammy pointed out that other ministries will have to undertake some work on this project. For example, bridges will have to be built across the channel by the Ministry of Public Works in an undertaking that is outside of the Hope Canal contract.
Dr. Ramsammy said: “As you go deeper into the communities, we will have (to build) bridges, since persons of those communities have been used to walking across (bridges). This is additional work. The Ministry of Agriculture will build one of the bridges, a walk-bridge, for the school children.”
Work on the third component, the eight-gate sluice at the canal’s Atlantic end, is moving at an encouraging pace, Dr. Ramsammy divulged. He explained that one aspect of the work, the procurement of the steel doors for the sluice, has been subtracted from the contractors’ work to reduce their burden and ensure the doors are acquired in a timely manner.
The fourth component, the EDWC Northern Relief Channel Public Road Bridge at Hope, was commissioned in early February this year by President Donald Ramotar, who noted that the bridge is a quintessential infrastructural investment, particularly because of its economic and humanitarian importance.
Indications are that the US$15M Hope Canal project, expected to alleviate flooding in the Mahaica/ Mahaicony/Abary (MMA) areas during rainy periods, would be operational as the rainy season sets in.
Residents in the MMA area have, over the years, lost crops and cattle to flooding during the rainy period. As seen in the past, whenever the Maduni Sluice has been opened to drain the East Demerara Water Conservancy, residents in the MMA area have had to battle a water-level rise in the Mahaica Creek; making completion of the Hope Canal something much desired and greatly anticipated.
Construction on the project began in February 2011 with an estimated 18 months for completion, and the deadline for the project was initially set for June 2013, but was subsequently extended to the end of August, and then once again extended to December 31, 2013.
Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has expressed optimism about the EDWC project meeting the most recently revised deadline date of June, 2014.
(By Vanessa Narine)