With the Hydromet Department predicting instances of high-intensity rainfall over the next three to four days, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha on Friday conducted a site visit to two of the recently acquired drainage pumps in Georgetown. One of the pumps is located at Sussex Street and the other at Ruimveldt.
Minister Mustapha said considering the advisory issued by the Hydromet Department, a visit to the pumps was necessary to ensure the structures were functioning. He said it was important to assess the city’s drainage structures ahead of the forecasted rainy weekend given the fact that many areas in Georgetown are prone to flooding.
“This morning we had a lot of rain. Fortunately, we didn’t have any flooding in the low-lying areas…. From the NDIA, we’ve boosted our drainage capacity with three additional pumps through the Indian Line of Credit. We were able to purchase 12 additional pumps at a cost of US$3.5 million. One of these hydro-flow pumps costs US$500,000 and we have three of those in Georgetown to boost the city’s drainage capacity. One of these pumps is capable of draining 35,520 gallons of water per minute.
With such a high drainage capacity, I’m hoping we can avoid the kind of flooding that we experienced over the last few months. The City’s Engineer has also assured me that he has enough human resources to manage these structures to not only ensure they remain operable, but operate on a timely basis because we do not want to have a repeat of what took place two weeks ago,” Minister Mustapha said.
Further, given the inclement weather, the Minister urged rice farmers to take precautions when traversing the dams to transport their paddy from the fields.
“We are currently in the harvesting season with about 50 per cent of the rice fields completed. Ahead of the harvesting period, the Ministry would’ve expended millions of dollars to rehabilitate a number of dams so that farmers could transport their paddy out of the fields. Due to the inclement weather, many of those dams are once again becoming impassable.
I want to assure our farmers that we will continue to do maintenance of these dams but at the same time, I want to appeal to the farmers to use the dams in a responsible manner so that everyone would have a chance to bring out their produce,” he said.
Additionally, the Minister said based on the information that he has been receiving from the Guyana Rice Development Board, he is expecting a bumper crop this season.
“We’ve seen an increase in our quota to Brazil from 10,000 tonnes to 34,000 tonnes of rice. We also have new markets in Hungary and Latvia so generally, our overall export quota will be increasing and at the same time, we’ll see an increase in production this crop. This is why we are working to put things in place so that we can avoid or, at least, minimise farmers’ losses and also avoid flooding in residential areas,” Minister Mustapha said.
The Minister also said he would be conducting other site visits to pumps along the coast over the next few days.
National Drainage and Irrigation Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Fredrick Flatts, Chairman of the Board, Mr. Lionel Wordsworth and other NDIA officials also attended the exercise. (Department of Public Information)