Work on the office to house the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) which began last year, has been completed.The NDIA office, which is situated alongside the Headquarters of the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA), will seek to upgrade the drainage system and make better provisions for drought in the Region.The soon-to-be commissioned Region Five office of the NDIAActing NDIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dave Hicks said recently, “The NDIA knows that farmers anywhere, who have a 50 per cent fear of losing their crops or livestock to floods or drought, will not bother to farm. So the NDIA in Region Five, in particular, will work and support the agencies in doing whatever is necessary to boost farmers’ confidence in the D&I system and have them feel encouraged to cultivate and even expand their production of crops and livestock within the Region.”According to Hicks, all that is required to get the office up and running is the installation of connections for electricity to the building.The office will be manned by a senior engineer of the NDIA assisted by ancillary staff and he will support the MMA/ADA; the Regional Democratic Council and the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) in the Region to implement and monitor projects aimed at increasing the discharge capacity of rain-flood waters and the provision of irrigation for agricultural purposes during El Niño (drought) weather conditions.NDIA projects for 2018Among the projects the Region Five NDIA office will spearhead and support in 2018 are the upgrading of resuscitated sea sluices along the West Berbice Coast; the establishment of additional sluices and the provision of another electrical pump for drainage of West Berbice at Trafalgar. The NDIA will also look to increase the hydraulic efficiency of the tertiary and secondary drainage systems in Region Five with the provision of nine excavators. These machines will be at the disposal of the Regional Administration for routine remedial and emergency works along the Region Five coast.The NDIA’s office will also seek to boost the efficiency of drainage in the riverine areas. Projects to be undertaken in this area this year will include extending the polder behind Pine Ground to Gordon Table along the right bank of the Mahaicony River to protect cultivation plots from water coming in from the backlands; and installing a dual purpose pump at Mora Point, Mahaicony River, to provide either drainage or irrigation when necessary. The pump is to be acquired from India. Other projects include infrastructural upgrades for replenishment of the Abary Conservancy with water from the Berbice River and the drawing down of water from the upper reaches of the Mahaica River at Kuliserabo to supply the Perth/Biaboo Main Canal for the benefit of low-risk rice production aback Mahaicony.The NDIA will also fund the replacement of tail regulators for all the high-level irrigation canals within the MMA/ADA project area in West Berbice. This is to ensure better management of irrigation water supplies and less stress on the drainage system from free-flowing water into canals without tail gates.Hicks said the NDIA was assisting the MMA/ADA since that agency did not have the financial resources at the moment.