Thursday, August 13, 2009

G$400Million World Bank conservancy project on hold

Kaieteur News news item, Thursday 13 August 2009 - "G$400Million World Bank conservancy project on hold" -

- lone bidder rejected

Pre-investment studies for the engineering design of works, costing some US$2 million, for the East Water Demerara Conservancy (EDWC) has been delayed because the lone bid exceeded the budget price by 100 percent, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said yesterday.
The World Bank approved grant funding for the project two years ago.
The Conservancy has been a source of grave concern recently, given usual periods of heavy rainfall. When the conservancy, which holds water to irrigate farmlands during the dry season, is overwhelmed, it threatens the integrity of the dam, which, if compromised could cause widespread flooding on the heavily populated East Coast Demerara.
In recent years, during the rainy season when the water builds up in the Conservancy, the government has had cause to ease the water into the Mahaica and Mahaicony Rivers, flooding out the farming communities along the rivers. Some residents have had to abandon their homes and farmlands and have taken up housing offered by Food for the Poor.
The World Bank, on October 11, 2007 approved what it called The Conservancy Adaptation Project, which cost overall, US$3.8 million.
The project aims at strengthening the government’s and donor understanding of the EDWC system and coastal drainage patterns through the integration of advanced mapping and engineering analysis.
The project also aims at implementing infrastructure investments to improve drainage performance, to strengthen the institutional capacity for managing water and floodwater levels, and to guide interventions to reduce Guyana’s vulnerability to floods.
According to Minister Persaud, after the Request for Proposals was closed for Component 1 of the project, which involved the pre-investment studies for the engineering design of works, one tender was received.
“The evaluation committee recommended that the tender be annulled since the Bidder exceeded the set budgeted price by more than 100 per cent,” Persaud said. Accordingly, the tender has since been reformulated and will be launched internationally shortly.
He noted that World Bank is financing the development of the technical foundation for a master plan of future interventions within Conservancy and lowland drainage systems, as well as specific upgrading works and operational improvements aimed at enhancing the flood control capacity of the EDWC.
“The tools developed under the analytical component will be used by the (government) and donor agencies to guide future investments,” Persaud stated.
The objective of Phase One is to provide the hydrologic baseline necessary for contemplating rational interventions aimed at increasing the current discharge capacity of the flood control system.
The Conservancy system includes a reservoir, fronted by an earthen dam; drainage channels, used to release excess water from the reservoir during the rainy season; and a network of canals, used to provide drinking water and irrigation during the dry seasons.
Because of this system, farmers are able to realize two harvests of sugar cane and rice annually.
The drainage relief structures were created to protect the EDWC dam from overtopping and collapsing during rainy seasons.
As the sea levels rise, the hydraulic head between the EDWC water control structures and sea outlets is significantly reduced. The smaller head reduces both the flow rate and discharge window available to discharge excess water from the system.
In addition, sea level rise has shortened the discharge window for the coastal plain. At present, flood control is managed on an emergency basis and control efforts focused on responding to immediate needs rather than the development of long-term control strategies.
This ad-hoc system of flood control is no longer effective and there are limitations on the ability to manage water levels in the coastal plain and prevent flooding.

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