El proyecto de conservación y adaptación como plataforma para futuras inversiones
Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud today spearheaded the inking of a contract, as part of Government's Conservancy Adaptation Project (CAP) to ensure the country adapt to the effects of climate change which have severely affected Guyana's economy in the past.
The US$2.7M deal is a consultancy contract between the Guyana Government and Mott McDonald from the United Kingdom and CEMCO Inc. which will see a study and assessment on the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC), being undertaken in a comprehensive way.
It was signed at Flag Staff, Cane Grove, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara.
Minister Persaud in delivering remarks pointed out that the Government recognises that in moving forward it is important to undertake proper scientific interventions, to determine the correct method of the EDWC.
As such, he said that the study which will now be undertaken will significantly allow a better understanding of how the conservancy operates and what interventions are best needed to better manage flood.
“This project comes out of the international communities' recognition of Guyana's vulnerability of climate change and the need for us to undertake interventions such as (CAP), that so that we can adequately prepare to manage the effects of climate change,” he said.
While commending the World Bank for its assistance in making the study possible, the Agriculture Minister stated that several aspects of the project have already been implemented which include remedial work to the structure at the Lama canal; procurement of pontoon and excavators to improve capacity and now the long awaited investment studies.
Minister Persaud said that the Administration looks forward to the output as well as recommendations as the Ministry seeks to make the entire coast line in the long-term, more resilient to the effects of the extreme weather conditions.
“It will also allow us to determine where we build structures because while this can be considered as the main conservancy due to the highest risk and vulnerabilities we also have other conservancies where from time to time you find similar challenges too,” he said.
While referring to the effects the La Nina weather condition posed recently, he said that from time to time the conservancies have been under stress due to the above normal rainfall and the country's vulnerability of being below sea level.
However, he added that over the last five years there has not been a failure in the EDWC due to the prudent management of the economy and the huge investments into the drainage and irrigation sector.
While cultivation has been expanding rapidly along the coast, these types of infrastructures are timely and will have to be expanded to further develop and accelerate ‘ Climate Smart Agriculture' to better manage flood and boost production and productivity.
The Agriculture Minister stated that for those who may criticise the project in the future, Government is prepared and will continue to make investments to deal with climate change to better the livelihoods of the populace.
Citing the need for more to be done, he said that with support from the international community this will augur well for the economy to head in the right direction as it relates to development disaster preparation.
“We have already advanced our arrangements with another partner which is the Japanese Government and very soon we will be concluding a $5M support, we have already had about 13 technical missions from the said Government coming to Guyana to support us in the EDWC,” he said.
It is estimated that for Regions Four and Five alone to build drainage and irrigation systems would require US$550M while annually the country can only afford US$2.5M on capital works.
Project Director Mott McDonald, Andrew Kirby while expressing his gratitude to be back in Guyana to embark on another project, assured quality since the company currently boasts qualified staff members from Canada and the UK who will be coming to Guyana to undertake the study.
The project which is funded by a grant from the World Bank is a 24-month contract.
On October 1, 2010 President Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister Persaud witnessed the start of work on the new relief channel at Hope/Dochfour at the EDWC.
This is expected to significantly change the circumstances of people in East Coast Demerara communities who have suffered from flooding for decades.