IN an Article titled, “GWI exploring Hope Canal for East Coast Demerara (ECD) water reservoir” appeared in the Guyana Chronicle on September 26. It was reported therein that the Ministry of Housing and Water (MH&W) through the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) is conducting tests to determine the viability of using the Hope Canal as a reservoir to provide water for domestic use or irrigation or both for residents on the ECD.
The Hope Canal was built to relieve flood water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) into the Atlantic Ocean. With some modification, it could be used as a reservoir and a conduit for water from the EDWC to meet the need of residents on the ECD providing that its original objective is not compromised.
The EDWC provides water for Georgetown and its suburbs after it is treated as well as irrigation needs for crops along the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara. There were periods when the EDWC could not meet these needs due to droughts and serious rationing of water occurred. Therefore, the MH&W has to determine whether the EDWC could meet the proposed additional demand of water throughout the year for ECD residents.
The water to be extracted from the Hope Canal for use by the ECD residents will require a conveyance and distribution system with a treatment plant. Further, if it is determined that sufficient water is not available in the EDWC throughout the year to meet all the current and proposed needs, then additional sources of water will have to be found. These could probably come from artesian wells and/or pumping from the Mahaica and Demerara Rivers to supplement stored rainfall in the EDWC.
This is likely to be a comprehensive and costly project but a worthwhile one which could be funded from the windfall oil and gas revenues the country if fortunate to receive.