Dam almost sealed – MMA Chairman

Mahaicony backlands flooding

By Shemuel Fanfair

The near two months of periodic flooding that has plagued the farmers and residents of communities nearFarmers (clean) Branch Road, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, will likely end as corrective works to seal sections of a breached dam along the Perth Canal in the backlands are almost complete. This is according to Chairman of the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agricultural Developmental Authority (MMA-ADA), Aubrey Charles who in an interview with Guyana Times said workmen were working to seal the two major breaches on Saturday.

“The last report I received is that the two breaches are almost sealed,” the MMA Chairman noted.

He also related that the operators attached to the MMA will also assess other sections of the ‘quick dam’ on the Perth Canal to ensure that the level of any “low sections” is raised so as to prevent water from the Mahaicony River from spilling over and causing additional flooding. Charles also told this newspaper that after these works are complete, any additional flooding would be as a result of new breaches along the dam.

These developments have been welcomed by those in the area and it was noted that these corrective works will bring some relief to the farmers who made repeated calls for the breaches to be rectified. Guyana Times was told that because the area was wet, this contributed to some of the challenges workmen had experienced in transporting the hymac to the affected area to rehabilitate the dam.

Rice farmer Deonarine Sesnarine said on Saturday that the flood waters on farmlands have decreased and he is thankful that rehabilitation of the dam is almost complete. It was only Friday that this newspaper reported that the unfilled breeches caused some amount of flooding to reoccur.

According to reports received by this publication on Thursday, whenever there is high tide, persons who reside along Company Dam, New Providence in Mahaicony are inundated. One resident of Company Dam told Guyana Times that his yard normally floods and he has not been able to replant any of his subsistent crops which perished when the flood waters first inundated the area almost two months ago. He explained that when the tides come in, the lands become inundated and when it goes out, the water would eventually recede but puddles would remain.

On May 20, the MMA had undertaken initiatives to ensure the rehabilitation of works to repair two major breaches along the Perth Canal after this newspaper reported on the plight of farmers in the area.

The MMA General Manager had said that the spring tide overflow caused soil erosions which facilitated the widen of the breaches, occasioning the heavy levels of flooding.

The dam at the Perth Canal was rehabilitated about seven months ago when the dry weather, caused by El Niño had prevailed, but it collapsed shortly after. Farmers were of the view that if the MMA and regional officials had heeded their appeals, the dam would have been repaired before the May/June rains came.

They lamented the fact that they have suffered losses as they had the expensive undertaking of pumping water out of their fields.