Farmers of West Watooka, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are presently suffering from an acute shortage of water as the dry season continues.
Designated Regional Councillor to the farming community, Owen De Souza, in making representation on behalf of the community’s farmers at a regional statutory meeting on Thursday, pointed to the plight of farmers as he shared a few recommendations.
De Souza noted that he has had two recent meetings with the farmers, and has compiled recommendations for the Agriculture Minister relative to the pros and cons of the issue.
“Present now is the dry weather, and the farmers are facing the dry season because there’s insufficient water in the canal or drains…and farmers suffering a lot”, he told members of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
“I did recommend for the farmers there to have a sluice, where in the dry weather they can take in the water, and in the wet weather they can take out the water if it’s too much on the land,” the Councillor explained.
De Souza further stressed that he would like to follow up this matter with the RDC’s Agriculture Committee, as he noted that this is a “burning issue”.
“Basically, the drains need to dig more deep…and have that sluice. It’s something really fundamental for farmers now and in the future”, he continued.
In response, Regional Chairman Renis Morian noted that on Monday there was an impromptu National Drainage and Irrigation (NDIA) meeting, wherein there was a look at the issue of the ‘dry weather’ on a national scale.
“What we’re facing is not just (in) Upper Demerara-Berbice, it’s national. I know for sure National Drainage and Irrigation trying to deal with all of these matters, this is (as it relates to) the entire country. The predictions are that rain might come May- June. If it don’t come May-June, well then (we are in) real-real trouble. But I’m aware that the engineers are here looking at local situations… Nationally, we have serious situations”, he said.
Morian also pointed to one of the effects of the ‘dry weather’ spell, noting that a section of a tube pipe which takes water to the Wakanabu Creek in Linden was burnt due to naturally occurring fire. He noted, however, that a replacement tube is expected.
“We did recommend, though, that the technical people make this a study, because every year we get this drought. So the technical people should make this a study, so they could come up with recommendations”, the Regional Chairman added.
He noted, too, that farmers of the Block 22 Medina Strait Farming Cooperative were advised to set aside space for the development of a reservoir which would assist in such times.
“So, for each area, you have to look at different solutions…we’re very much challenged right now,” Morian said.
Just last month, during a visit to the community by Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, residents and farmers of West Watooka voiced a number of concerns, including inaccessibility to water. Chairman of the community’s Farmers Development Council, Arthur Johnson, has also pointed to some major concerns. Presently, farmers are forced to fetch water from the West Watooka residential area.
The area’s farming community has approximately 103 live-in farmers, and approximately 50 per cent of these have families. The farmers’ section of the community consists of approximately 700 metres of land.
Farmers indicated that though water is obtained from a canal, it is located too far away, and one of the farmers had told this publication that the water lines are cut off at the residential area. Johnson had indicated that farmers were willing to do self-help, if given pipelines.
Managing Director of the Guyana Water Inc, Dr Van West-Charles, has recently assured residents of the farming community that they are soon to receive assistance.