Georgetown, Guyana – (September 11, 2018) The Government of Guyana, in collaboration with the Government of Brazil are set to commence the drilling of eight wells in eight villages in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) from October 4, 2018. The drilling follows ten days of reconnaissance, which was conducted in March of this year. The wells are expected to assist in the storage of water for the dry season (El Niño).

Today, stakeholders met at the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) for the second working group meeting. That meeting was attended by Director General of the organisation (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, Brazilian Military Attaché to Guyana, Colonel Deni Da Silva and stakeholders from the Ministries of Communities, Public Health, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture as well the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Department of Citizenship, Guyana Police Force (GPF), Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Hydro-meteorological Office and Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI).

According to Colonel Deni Da Silva, the equipment and support vehicles are expected to arrive in Guyana on October 1, 2018 while drilling will commence on October 4, 2018. It is the intention of the Brazilian team to have the wells handed over to the Guyanese authorities on November 28, 2018.

Already, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, with approval from the Cabinet, has commenced road works to facilitate the smooth transportation of the vehicles and equipment from Brazil through Lethem to the targeted communities.

During the drilling phase, the Brazilian Army will be working closely with the GDF and this collaboration will see the drilling of artesian wells in the villages of Aishalton, Chukrikednau, Shea, Maruranawa, Awaruwaunau, Karaudanawa, Achiwib and Bashraidrun. The aim of this process is to develop the capacity of GDF’S Engineering Corps to drill future artesian wells and to respond to future water shortages caused by extensive droughts.

In an invited comment, Colonel Craig said that the drilling of the wells is an important part of disaster response and preparedness, particularly during the El Niño season.

“As we know, [the] Rupununi is susceptible to droughts and floods so we want to remove that uncertainty and have a system under which the communities could be supplied with fresh water continuously during the year. Mainly, in Region Nine, the residents use hand dug wells and you find that a couple weeks into the dry season, there is no water for them to use. Those wells are usually about 20 metres but these that will be dug later in the year will be 100 metres, which translates to about 300 feet. It is all part of us responding to the drought situation during the dry season in the region,” he said.

This project follows President David Granger’s State visit to Brazil in December 2017, where the Complementary Agreement to the Basic Agreement on Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Federative Republic of Brazil for the Implementation of the Project Technologies to Reduce the Effects of the Drought in Region Nine was inked.

The Complementary Agreement states that the Government of Brazil shall undertake to “promote the transfer of Brazilian knowledge and experience related to mitigation of the effects of drought; provide the means for implementation of activities foreseen in the Project, send consultants and experts to implement activities to be carried out in Guyana, support the development of the Guyanese technical team’s capacity to drill artesian wells and monitor and evaluate Project implementation.”

Meanwhile, the Government of Guyana, as prescribed in the Agreement, shall undertake to “take responsibility for the maintenance of the artesian wells that will be drilled during the practical operations on the ground; appoint a technical team to monitor and participate in activities to be implemented, provide the technical team sent by the Government of Federative Republic of Brazil with the logistical support required to implement activities of their responsibility and to take measures to ensure that activities implemented by professionals sent by the Brazilian Government will be continued by professionals from the Guyanese implementing institution.”

The drilling of the wells also coincides with the 50th anniversary of bilateral ties between Guyana and Brazil.

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