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On Friday, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agriculture Sector Development Unit (ASDU) hosted a simple exercise to test and inspect three recently procured three amphibious excavators as part of the government’s ongoing flood risk management project.
Minister Zulfikar Mustapha receives a model excavator from representatives of Farm Supplies Limited.
The pieces of equipment were procured at a cost of $438,654,750 and will be used to execute the upcoming phase of reconstruction of the north-eastern dam of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC).
With flood risk management being high on the government’s agenda, Agriculture Minister, Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha said that the government has been consistently investing in developing improved drainage structures.
While offering remarks, he said the government will continue to invest in critical machinery and infrastructure and assured that the machines will be used in different parts of the country.
“These excavators will not only be used in this conservancy. They will also be used to execute work in different parts of the country depending on the needs within those areas. Outfalls that lead directly to the Atlantic Ocean become silted and we have to do work to desilt them. We’ll have to use these types of machines to do those works. We will ensure we continue to invest in modern machinery to develop the sector and make it more sustainable and attractive,” the minister said.
Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth said “With regard to the project, we’ve since added discharge capacity with the new Hope Canal, restored the Cunha Canal, and maintained the existing outlets should there be a phenomenal amount of rainfall. The acquisition of these equipment would give support to in-house capacity and add to the skillset within the management of the conservancy so that we can execute and implement all planned works,” he noted.
The Chairman also noted that similar upgrades would be done to infrastructure along the Coast.
The excavators are said to be the largest in the Caribbean, comprising DX300 Long Reach superstructures, each mounted on two hydraulic amphibious pontoons.
Following the 2005 flood and overtopping of the EDWC, former President and now Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo sought assistance from international donor agencies to fund projects to develop Guyana’s flood risk management. The Vice President was also responsible for pursuing the construction of the Hope Canal which drains excess water from the EDWC to the Atlantic Ocean.
The project, which is funded by a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aims to significantly increase flood resilience in the low-lying coastal lands of the East Demerara area, which includes the country’s capital, Georgetown, where much of the population, as well as administrative and commercial activities, are concentrated. The additional financing also caters for extensive work to improve the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC), one of Guyana’s major water storage and flood control facilities.