$47M to be spent on dredging of the Demerara River

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The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will begin dredging the Demerara River at Coomaka Village in Region Ten next month to ease flooding in the area.

The Authority will expend GY$47M to carry out a series of operations to reduce flooding in the village, a statement from the Agriculture Ministry said.

These works will include the partial removal of sand from the Demerara River, construction of a reinforced laterite dam with overflow mechanisms to retain the migration of sand into the Demerara River and the re-vegetation of a pilot area with grass.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer of NDIA, Dave Hicks said that flooding of the Coomacka community and its environs have been a continuous challenge for those agencies responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and ensuring the wellbeing of the citizens of that area.

“An interagency task force was thus assembled to determine the root causes for flooding in the community. To this end, the interagency task force lead community engagements with regional authorities and residents, and conducted an engineering analysis to determine the factors that contribute to recurring flooding of Coomacka,” Hicks said in a statement from the Ministry.

Coomacka, which is estimated to have over 300 residents, is located in a basin which increases its vulnerability to both long-term and flash flooding from heavy rainfall. The village is also more susceptible to increased runoff from higher elevations which drain into the river.

These factors have led to the blockage of two-thirds of the width of the Demerara River at Coomaka, the Ministry said, adding that this blockage not only affects the ecosystem, but also the navigability of the river and further exacerbates the flood risk of the community.

To date, the NDIA has commenced a series of works, which include clearing of drainage canals and waterways, keeping on track with projects outlined in their 2019 work programme.

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