Emergency works, constant monitoring ongoing to mitigate flooding
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Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and team inspecting the sluice at Cowan Street, in Georgetown, on Friday night (DPI photo)
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and team inspecting the sluice at Cowan Street, in Georgetown, on Friday night (DPI photo)

HEAVY rainfall across Guyana poses the threat of flooding, but the government, through its various agencies and ministries, is constantly monitoring drainage structures and engaging in emergency works as needed to counter any flooding.

The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has intensified its operations to ensure flood-affected areas across the country are drained within the shortest possible time, a release from the Ministry of Agriculture noted on Friday.

Earlier this week, NDIA engineers and other workers were dispatched across Georgetown to monitor the drainage pumps and sluices amid heavier-than-usual rainfall recorded. Since then, those structures and equipment have been constantly monitored and regulated to guarantee that no part of the city becomes inundated.

“Our engineers have been working around the clock to ensure these pump stations and sluices are functioning effectively. We know for a fact that the entire Coast is below sea level and with climate change contributing to higher water levels and unpredictable weather conditions, the Coastal Regions have become even more vulnerable,” Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha was quoted as saying.

Importantly, he added that the ministry is putting a number of other systems in place to assist with effectively draining affected areas. He also issued a call to residents to desist from dumping garbage in the waterways since those can damage the costly drainage structures.

Despite the government’s constant monitoring, the Cowan Street, Georgetown sluice door collapsed on Friday night. It is unknown what triggered the collapse, but workers were immediately dispatched to fix the structure.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall, who was at the scene on Friday, stated that this sluice is one of Georgetown’s main drainage outlets, and as such, fixing it is of paramount importance.

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill said that when the tide recedes, the engineers at the site would be able to remedy the situation. He promised that there would be no major flooding in the area because of the damage.

The Agriculture Ministry’s Hydromet Department’s daily weather update urged citizens to take the necessary precautions, noting that with the current forecast conditions, flash flooding and flooding are very likely over low-lying and flood-prone areas.

The advisory also said that in areas of thunderstorms, heavy winds and possible lightning strikes can be expected.
Earlier this month, the Hydromet Department issued an advisory forecasting wetter than usual rainfall conditions across all regions of Guyana for the months of November 2022 to January 2023, Guyana’s secondary rainfall season.

The advisory predicted that the usual secondary rainfall season will be augmented by persistent La Nina conditions during the season, and that rainfall is expected to increase considerably from mid-November, and continue at least to January 2023.

During the upcoming rainy season, water levels in conservancies, reservoirs, and inland rivers across Regions One (Barima-Waini) to Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are likely to increase, with a high risk of flooding.

On the other hand, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) would continue to be dry, but can expect more than the usual amount of rain days. The highest amount of rainfall is projected for Regions One, Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Three Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), and the northern reaches of Eight, with increasing concerns for Regions Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and Five (Mahaica-Berbice).

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