Backlands flooding subsides, farmers overjoyed

Breached Mahaicony Dam

After two months of flooding in the backlands of Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, the lives of farmers and residents are stabilising as the major sections of the breached dam along Perth Canal has been sealed,

The state of the breached dam at Strath Campbell on May 12
The state of the breached dam at Strath Campbell on May 12

according to farmers.

Farmers on Wednesday explained that most of the water has now receded their farmlands.

According to information, the two major breaches mainly responsible for the flooding have been sealed by the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary-Agricultural Developmental Authority (MMA-ADA) and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) after Guyana Times had highlighted the issue.

This publication was told that other sections of the dam considered as ‘low areas’ will also be built up to prevent overtopping by the Mahaicony River during high tides.

One farmer who expressed satisfaction over the corrective works, have however cautioned that the current rainy weather signals that the recent rehabilitation is “temporary” and noted follow-up rehabilitation works would be needed in the dry weather.

He opined that this entire situation could have been prevented if officials of the MMA-ADA had heeded earlier pleas of farmers who had stated that the prolonged period of dry weather was ideal for the breaches to be sealed.

On Sunday Guyana Times reported that MMA-ADA General Manager Aubrey Charles as saying that the breaches were almost sealed. Charles had also related that the MMA-ADA would have assessed other sections of the ‘quick dam’ on the Perth Canal to ensure that the level of any “low sections” would be raised to prevent water from the Mahaicony River spilling over and cause more flooding.

Charles opined that after these works are complete, any additional flooding would be as a result of new breaches along the dam.

It was only Friday last that Guyana Times reported that the unsealed breeches caused some amount of flooding to recur.

It was on May 20 that MMA-ADA had undertaken initiatives to ensure the rehabilitation of major breaches along the Perth Canal after Guyana Times reported on the plight of farmers in the area.

The MMA-ADA general manager had explained that the spring tide overflow caused soil erosion which facilitated the widening of the breaches, occasioning the severe flooding.

The dam at Perth Canal was rehabilitated some seven months ago when dry weather had prevailed but it collapsed shortly after. Farmers had lamented the fact that they suffered significant losses as they had the expensive undertaking of pumping water out of fields.