With the Hydromet Department forecasting high intensity rainfall events 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 in Sussex Street and the other at Ruimveldt.
Minister Mustapha said that given the consultation issued by the Hydromet Department, the pumps needed to be visited to ensure the structures were operational. He said it was important to assess the city’s drainage structures ahead of the anticipated rainy weekend given the fact that many areas in Georgetown are prone to flooding.
“This morning we had a lot of rain. Fortunately, we did not experience any flooding in the low lying areas…. From the NDIA, we have boosted our drainage capacity with three additional pumps through the India Credit Line. We were able to purchase 12 additional pumps at a cost of US $ 3.5 million. One of these floodwater pumps costs US $ 500,000 and we have three of those in Georgetown to boost the city’s drainage capacity. One of these pumps can drain 35,520 gallons of water per minute.
With such a high drainage capacity, I hope we can avoid the kind of flooding we’ve had over the past few months. The City Engineer has also assured me that he has enough human resources to manage these structures not only to ensure that they remain operational, but that they operate in a timely manner because we do not want to repeat what is it happened two weeks ago, ”said the Minister. Mustapha says.
Further, given the inclement weather, the Minister urged rice farmers to take precautions when crossing the dams to transport their paddy from the fields.
“We are currently in harvest season with around 50 per cent of the rice fields completed. Prior to the harvest period, the Ministry would have spent millions of dollars to rehabilitate several dams so that farmers could transport their paddy out of the fields. Due to the inclement weather, many of those dams are becoming impossible once again.
I want to reassure our farmers that we will continue to maintain these dams but at the same time I want to appeal to the farmers to use the dams responsibly so that everyone would have an opportunity to bring their produce out, “he said.
In addition, the Minister said that, based on the information he has been receiving from the Guyana Rice Development Board, he is expecting a small crop this season.
“We have seen an increase in our quota for Brazil from 10,000 tonnes to 34,000 tonnes of rice. We also have new markets in Hungary and Latvia so overall, our overall export quota will increase and at the same time we will see an increase in the production of this crop. This is why we are working to put things in place so that we can avoid or at least reduce farmers’ losses and also avoid flooding in residential areas, ”said Minister Mustapha.
The Minister also said that he would be undertaking further site visits to pumps along the coast over the next few days.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Mr. Fredrick Flatts, Chairman of the Board, Mr Lionel Wordsworth and other NDIA officials also conducted the exercise. (Department of Public Information)