- Published: 30 January 2012
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Total Project Budget: US$ 2 Million
Implementing Agencies: Agriculture Sector Development Unit and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, both of the Ministry of Agriculture
Project Background and Summary
The Cunha Canal Rehabilitation Project is a part of Guyana’s LCDS adaptation initiatives. This project is an important intervention addressing the focus area of adapting to climate change. The works will improve the ability of the Government of Guyana to manage water resources in the East Demerara Water Conservancy.
Ninety percent (90%) of Guyana’s inhabitants live on the narrow coastal plain, which represents ten percent (10%) of the country’s area. This area of reclaimed lands, much of which lies below sea level, is crucial to the economy of the country, supporting the majority of the population including nation’s capital, Georgetown, and a large part of Guyana’s agrarian economy.
The populated coastal zone is transected by a dense network of drainage and irrigation canals. This network of canals links up with the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC), a water storage system that provides regional agricultural lands with irrigation water and urban areas with drinking water. In addition, during times of heavy rainfall this system provides regional drainage and flood control.
Drainage during rainfall events has been managed through the use of a gravity-based system augmented with pumps. This system is under increasing stress, suffering from the impacts of sea level rise and from the age of the coastal drainage and irrigation system which was initially constructed 150 years ago. Upgrading the system is of crucial importance to increasing its ability to release water during storm events and to avoiding overtopping and breaching of the system’s levees which would impact a large portion of the population of the country.
The proposed physical works for the Cunha Canal will include the widening of the canal, the rehabilitation of the former outlet structure, rerouting the canal to re-establish its original alignment and construction of a bridge on the East Bank of Demerara Public Road where the canal intercepts the road. Rehabilitation of the Canal will increase its discharge capacity and contribute to reducing the risks of the embankment overtopping and flooding of areas along the East Bank of the Demerara.
The Project Concept Note (PCN) for the Cunha Canal Rehabilitation Project was approved by the GRIF Steering Committee in June of 2012, laying the preparatory work for the development of the full project document and subsequent implementation of the project. Following the approval of the PCN, the World Bank which is the partner entity for this project conducted two missions to Guyana in July and November 2012 to review the proposed project activities and costs; implementation arrangements; results indicators; procurement and financial management arrangements; safeguards; and technical aspects with a view to preparing and completing the full project document.
Studies being conducted under the Conservancy Adaptation Project (CAP) will provide key data and analytic inputs for the project.