Will Guyana Survive the Great Flood?

Thanks Rosaliene…

Three Worlds One Vision

High Tide at the Seawall - East Coast Demerara - GuyanaHigh Tide at the Seawall – East Coast Demerara – Guyana
Photo Credit: Caribbean Development Bank

When I was a kid in Georgetown, capital of Guyana, flooding meant a day or more off from school. During the rainy season, it was quite normal for drainage canals to overflow into streets and neighboring yards. To drain the flood water, kokers or sluice-gates could not be opened until low tide.

Koker or Sluice Gate - Georgetown - GuyanaKoker or Sluice-Gate – Georgetown – Guyana

Over the years, flooding along Guyana’s 264-mile-long, low-lying coastal plain has intensified. This is due partly to failure in upgrading the sea defense system built in the 1740s under Dutch colonization. But the main culprit has been the rise in sea levels. In a country where over eighty percent of the population lives along the coast, ranging from 20 to 40 inches below sea level, this is cause for concern and an action plan.


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  • guyaneseonline  On 06/01/2014 at 8:35 am

    A timely reminder Rosaliene. Here is the latest …

    Heavy rainfall, spring tide may cause coastal flooding – http://bit.ly/1u2Oulq
    Saturday, 31 May 2014 19:55 Written by Demerara Waves
    Weather forecasters Saturday night warned that there could be flooding in some coastal areas due to heavy rainfall coupled with the Spring Tide.

    “Flash Flood warning is in effect for flood prone areas within Regions 1 to 4,” according to a weather bulletin issued through the Ministry of Agriculture.

    Forecasters said a lot of the rain is expected to in southern Region 6 as well as Regions 8,9 and 10. “Coastal regions will also be affected but should have less rainfall than the hinterland,” said the advisory.

    (Note: Georgetown and most of Demerara is in Region 4)

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 06/01/2014 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing the latest news, Cyril. Local residents have to brace themselves for worse to come in the days, months, and years ahead.

  • gigi  On 06/02/2014 at 12:19 am

    Throughout history, many civilization have collapsed and or disappeared due to climate change/natural disasters. Minoan, Mayan, Indus Valley civilizations are just a few that are well known. Greek civilization – the cradle of western civilization – came about as a result of climate change, and they actually abandoned the interior for the coast and turned to the sea for their survival.

    I know an anthropology professor who is traveling to Grenada this summer to collect and document information of the island because it is believed, based on evidence, that Grenada will become submerged in the very near future. Guyana is 2/3rds water and 6/8 ft below sea level. I’m not sure how much of Guyana is going to remain with the rising sea levels. Moving the govt to the hinterland will NOT save Guyana. What’s the purpose of a govt when they are no citizens to govern? The citizens have to make the move to save themselves and govt will follow when the need arises. Having the govt in Georgetown is the best thing G/T has going for it, otherwise G/Tt would become a total cesspool – a zombie apocalypse with the current mayor and his ilk running the show.

  • Philip Sattaur  On 06/08/2014 at 1:54 pm

    WHERE THERE IS NO VISION A NATION PERISH……Instead of looking at the downside of this whole matter of rising sea level as it relates to the coastal belt of Guyana, let us cast our vision outside the box here and think of how we can use this geological eventuality to our enhancement and development. Here’s my idea and it’s way, way outside the box. At the point in the Demerara River where the landscape begins to change from low flatland to hills and solid rocky ground, We create a 400 ft waterway linking that point in the Demerara river with a similar point in the Essequibo River which will put us close to the vicinity of the developing town of Bartica. Of course It will be a well made waterway constructed of concrete with locks at each end. He ow will this benefit us? let’s peer a little further out the box, The land area that borders the northern side of the waterway, can be sold to private shipping entities, where they can build a series of docks to facilitate cargo ships. This can become one of the busiest ports in the world as it will serve as a trans-shipment hub facility channeling produce from not only Guyana but the entire South America especially Brazil, the fifth largest economy in the world and growing at a tremendous rate. it will be the fastest route to the entire North America< europe and the African diaspora. Can you just imagine the financial gain Guyana will experience? and Oh, the fear of flooding which started this all. That body of water in the waterway will be so vast that it will take off the load that floods the coast in that zone of the coast. Think of the agriculture development that can take place then if the water is channeled into what will technically become our largest island.Hey Tomatoes, Carrots, Beets, Pineapples, just to name a few of the many which could be harvested, processed, canned and branded, and ultimately shipped to North America and Europe et al. This Will surely encourage investors to stimulate the economy. And our environment remains undisturbed and beautifully natural,. Remember folks, there are three kinds of people. THOSE THAT MAKE THNGS HAPPEN, THOSE THAT WATCH THINGS HAPPEN, AND THOSE THAT WONDER WHAT HAPPENED. I was also taught that THOSE WHO SAY IN CANNOT BE DONE, ARE OFTEN AWOKEN BY SOMEONE ELSE DOING IT. I love Guyana and always will.

  • Philip Sattaur  On 06/08/2014 at 2:01 pm

    In my submission, i should have mentioned that the waterway should be 400 feet wide and not just 400 feet, Also a draft (depth) of about forty to fifty feet., A massive undertaking but not impossible nor imbroble and isvery workable, Thanks

  • Ron. Persaud  On 06/10/2014 at 11:46 am

    When I was younger, I heard of the “Torani” canal and the reason for its failure.
    I later heard of the “Warimia Project” and the reason for its failure.
    I do not know the fate of the Abary project of recent vintage.
    I once proposed that the East Demerara Water Conservancy Authority should construct a highway along the conservancy dam. This would end the destructive and costly breaches of this water conservancy structure.
    My audience included Mr. Jock Strathearn, himself a member of the Authority. In his typical style he calmly pointed out the difficulties of building such a highway over a terrain of pegasse.
    I saw what he meant when the dam breached at Cane Grove. Twenty one punts disappeared into the depths of the breach.
    In the words of Mr. Jimmy Singh, “A drainage system is designed to fail. You cannot design for the hundred year flood. A water conservation system must not fail; extreme destruction will result.

  • Ron. Persaud  On 06/10/2014 at 11:51 am

    Correction! Correction!! Correction!!!
    The “Warimia Project” should read, the “Boeraserie Project”

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