Climate change report: Guyana has to safeguard against increased flooding

Climate change report highlights need for Guyana to safeguard against increased flooding

Climate change report highlights need for Guyana to safeguard against increased flooding

With its coastline being below sea level, Guyana remains highly vulnerable to climate change and the consequent trend in sea level rise.

A five-year report on the effects of climate change by a group of concerned scientists has therefore highlighted defence mechanisms to help Guyanese cope with increased flooding, which will result from rises in sea levels due to global warming.           

The report outlined that Guyana’s coastland residents who account for 80 percent of the population should be safeguarded by the building and reinforcing levees, river defences seawalls and improved drainage systems.

The report also recommended to flood-proofing buildings particularly hospitals and health clinics.

It pointed to that the improvement will come at a heavy cost to the Government. Failure to implement proper flood defence mechanisms will end in more dire consequences.

According to the report, the cost for improving the system could exceed US$1 billion—a fraction of the potential losses if nothing is done.

“Some locations already rely on pump-assisted drainage, and more are likely to need it, raising the cost of protecting coastal development.”

In addition to the other precautionary measures, the report pointed out that there was recommendation by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2010 for residents to relocate farther inland.

Added to that, it was noted the coastal mangrove fringes are particularly at risk from sea–level rise.

“Mangroves naturally move slowly landward as sea level rises. However, because the Guyana coast is developed, the mangroves cannot do so, and slowly die off from being pinned in place as sea level rises.”

The report stressed, therefore, that curbing the human activities that overload the atmosphere with carbon—the root cause of global sea–level rise—can go a long way toward slowing the pace of change, and creating more time for coastal communities to prepare for changes ahead.

At present, coastal portions of Guyana sit from 19.7 inches (0.5 meter) to 39.4 inches (1 meter) below sea level.
As such, the sea–level rise could devastate agricultural production if saltwater inundates fields and intrudes into the estuaries used to irrigate them.

The report noted, “Guyana’s coastal plains are home to some three–quarters of the country’s economic activities including almost all the country’s agricultural production—critical for both food and export.

Saltwater from rising seas could also contaminate freshwater supplies used for drinking and other domestic and industrial activities, requiring costly treatment.”

Such flooding would devastate most of the population and have consequences for a large percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP).

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Comments

  • Leslie Chin  On October 7, 2019 at 6:25 am

    Georgetown and the East Coast Demerara have always be prone to flooding. Now with rising sea level due to global warming the kokers cannot be opened long enough to drain the land so the water has to be retained on the land until the next low tide cycle assuming more rain does not fall.

    One solution is to open landfills around Georgetown. Another solution is to build a new capital city on high ground near CJIA that is not susceptible to flooding..

    • kamtanblog  On October 8, 2019 at 1:47 am

      Les
      Landfill…r u serious !
      GT on higher ground makes sense…
      Old GT …Venice of Latinoland !

      Kamtan

  • BikeTOStats  On October 14, 2019 at 1:29 am

    Lol people already scheming how to scam oil money away from Guyana, climate change.

    Georgetown flood because of very poor maintenance of the drainage system and neglect in modernization.

    Instead of building out the lowlands that are below sea level move to higher ground.

    • kamtanblog  On October 14, 2019 at 3:07 am

      You nailed it !
      Commonsensical approach to climate
      change way forward.
      Over two decades have preached the
      gospel to move Capital city nearer
      CJ airport on higher ground.
      Brazillia a fine example.
      The political jackasses will
      hopefully decide after 2nd March 2020.

      Holding my breadth !
      Better to live in hope than die in despair…
      My illiterate grand mother used to say !

      Remain optimistic

      Kamtan

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