– to help craft initiatives against flooding, determine drainage optionsBack in 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture had announced that it would be constructing pump stations under the Flood Risk Management Project. Fast forward to 2019 and with floods being a prevalent issue, the Government is now seeking a consultant to provide support to the project.Recent flooding in MahaicaThis is according to a notice released by the Ministry of Agriculture, in which it invited tenders from suitably qualified consulting firms to help design initiatives to reduce the risk of flooding in selected areas along the East Coast of Demerara (ECD).“The principal objectives of this assignment are, based on the completed detailed hydraulic study, determine the best options for drainage interventions to reduce flood risk within the Liliendaal and Ogle drainage areas and the recommended pumping capacities for the pump stations and produce final designs for selected drainage interventions, engineer’s estimates, specifications etc,” the Ministry explained.“Consultants may associate with other firms in the form of a joint venture or a sub consultancy to enhance their qualifications. Consultants should indicate the form of the association (joint venture or sub consultancy, member in charge, other members or sub-consultants,” the Ministry further explained, adding that joint ventures should submit letters of intent.According to the Ministry, the firms interested in applying must provide information to show they have the qualifications and experience to perform the service. This includes information on previous assignments similar to the FRMP, as well as its technical capacity.Since the project, which costs US$11.8 million, is being financed by the World Bank, the Ministry also cited the Bank’s guidelines: Selection and employment of consultants under IBRD loans and IDA credits and grants, which deals with their policy on conflicts of interest.“Bank policy requires that consultants provide professional, objective, and impartial advice and at all times hold the client’s interests paramount, without any consideration for future work, and that in providing advice they avoid conflicts with other assignments and their own corporate interests.”“Consultants shall not be hired for any assignment that would be in conflict with their prior or current obligations to other clients, or that may place them in a position of being unable to carry out the assignment in the best interest of the Borrower.”According to the project document, there are several components to the project. One involves priority infrastructural works to ensure flood risk reduction, inclusive of upgrades to the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC).The other component involves institutional strengthening. This includes implementing a quality assurance and safety system for the EDWC and emergency preparedness plans. It also involves training and data management.A few years ago, when heavy rainfall had inundated Georgetown and its outskirts with flooding, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had called on Government to implement the necessary measures to bring immediate relief to those affected, by ensuring that steps were taken to minimise damage to and losses of property, livestock and crops.He had also urged the Government to pay special attention to the rising water level in the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) which was reported to be above 57 GD level, as well as the Boerasirie Conservancy.The Opposition Leader had also noted that the Mahaica and Mahaicony Creeks, Pomeroon River and other inland areas, should receive attention as backwater flows could result in downstream flooding, which is the predominant trend in riverine areas.Jagdeo had also advised that defective sluices and silted outfall channels in areas such as Capoey, Cozier, Three Friends, Letter Kenny and Borlam must be urgently addressed and operationalised, as well as those on the East Coast of Demerara, Georgetown and other areas, as necessary.Recent flooding in Mahaica saw more than 300 acres of rice being destroyed and hundreds of acres more being put under threat of destruction by saltwater. In addition, livestock was destroyed and properties sustained damages.