Government plans to build two eight-door outfall sluices to mitigate flooding in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne)
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, said this is one of the long-term solutions the Government will be investing in, to prevent flooding.
“The technical work has already begun to identify optimal location to identify the channels that will be connected to it, to design, to determine the optimal alignment, and to design the physical structure, do the engineering design. That work has already started, it is already ongoing.
“We can’t just rush and build a canal just like that. We have to first of all determine what is the best location for the outfall, what are the optimal connections with the channels, what’s the optimal capacity to be built, both in relation to the outfall track, the channel, and as well the outfall, the koker, the sluice capacity. So, the engineering work is happening right now. Once that engineering work is completed the construction work will start.”
Minister Singh said the Government recognises that the country’s current drainage capacity on the coast is insufficient, as the above normal rainfall and high tide caused severe flooding from May-July.
When the major sluices are completed, the lands will be drained efficiently, preserving the agriculture sector, which is usually severely affected.
Dr. Singh said the outfall sluices will resemble the Hope Canal Project on the East Coast of Demerara.
That project was conceptualised by the PPP/C Government after repeated flooding in villages along the East Coast of Demerara, which wiped out many crops and livestock.
While this is the Government’s long-term solution to flooding, it has already begun rolling out the short-term solution, distributing flood relief grants to farmers who suffered losses during the unprecedented flooding.
On Sunday, a team of ministers visited Region Six, to oversee the distribution of over $970 million in cheques to farmers.
The initiative is aimed at assisting the farmers to restart crop and livestock production.
More than $7 billion has been earmarked to be distributed to the flood-affected farmers.
This is in addition to the almost 60,000 food and sanitation hampers distributed by the Civil Defence Commission.