In an effort to improve the drainage system in Georgetown, two additional pump stations with the accompanying outfalls will be installed in the city. This project will be funded under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
Last year a team of Dutch engineering students from the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, visited Guyana and collaborated with local agencies to develop a model of an effective and efficient drainage system for Georgetown.
The Dutch Risk Reduction team (DRR) had recommended in its report, submitted in January last year, that Guyana use a proactive approach to respond to flood-related issues. The team also identified short, medium and long-term measures that can be taken to better operate and manage the drainage system of Georgetown and the low-lying coastal areas.
One of the recommendations was that Government upgrade modelling capability even as the report noted that the current practice of maintaining and improving the drainage system is largely projects-based. It was also recommended that the authorities make a long-term project plan to gradually develop the hydraulic drainage model for Georgetown. A recommendation was made too for the setting up of a simple spread-sheet type of network model for the entire drainage system of Georgetown to better understand the flow of water.
Updating media operatives on this project at a press conference on Thursday, Programme Officer attached to the EU Delegation in Guyana, Odran Hayes, noted that with the Dutch researchers having identified certain bottlenecks within the City’s drainage system, Government will now have to do the corrective work.
To this end, he noted that two more additional pump stations will be needed to achieve this.
“From our side, what we are doing under the 11th EDF – the Sea Defence Programme – the Government has a target indicator to increase the drainage pumping capacity for Georgetown by four cubic meters per second. So they will have to install two new pumping stations with outfalls. The location is yet to be decided but perhaps on the Demerara River, that will be our contribution,” the EU representative said.
Moreover, Haynes noted that the budget support programmes such as the aforementioned usually come along with a technical assistance programme, whereby the EU would bring in consultants to advise the benefiting agency. In this case, it would be the Public Infrastructure Ministry.
One such technical assistance that the EU will be providing is legislative reform to the country’s Sea Defence Act.
“So we will be working with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the CDC (Civil Defence Commission) on legislative reform and possibly updating the Sea Defence Act – it’s quite old now, going back to the beginning of last century – to bring into being a new Disaster Management Bill,” Hayes revealed.
The EU representative continued that they will also work with the CDC on developing regional and municipals Disasters Management Plan for Georgetown and the four new municipalities (Lethem, Mabaruma, Bartica, Mahdia). Additionally, they are looking to establish 16 community-based Disaster Management Plan.
“So there’s quite a bit of technical assistance (programmes),” Hayes remarked. Of importance too is the move to promote gender equality. The EU Programme Officer revealed that they will be collaborating with the Public Infrastructure Ministry to encouraging young women to follow careers in engineering and science.
To this end, he added that Ministry, which has responsibility for the Sea Defence Board, has committed to have a 33 per cent women representation on the board. Currently there is 10 per cent women presence and according to Hayes, only after this is increased to one-third that the funding for this aspect will be released.
Guyana has been the beneficiary of successive EDFs, embracing a number of key projects in areas essential to the country’s human and economic development. The strategic and programming framework for the 11th EDF, which runs from 2014 to 2020, has identified climate change adaptation and risk reduction as priority areas, utilising a sum of 34 million Euros.