Georgetown, Guyana – (September 26, 2018) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, led a team to the South Rupununi, Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) to conduct a reconnaissance of the roads and other facilities, as the region gets ready to welcome members of the Brazilian Army, who will begin the drilling of eight wells in eight villages from October 4, 2018.
Artesian wells will be drilled in the villages of Aishalton, Chukrikednau, Shea, Maruranawa, Awaruwaunau, Karaudanawa, Achiwib and Bashraidrun and will have a depth of 100 metres or 300 feet deep.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has commenced road works to facilitate the smooth transportation of the vehicles and equipment from Brazil through Lethem to the targeted communities. According to Brazilian Military Attaché to Guyana, Colonel Deni Da Silva, the equipment and support vehicles, which are 23 in total, are expected to arrive in Guyana on October 1, 2018. It is the intention of the Brazilian team to have the wells handed over to the Guyanese authorities on November 28, 2018.
In an invited comment, Minister Harmon said the visit was necessary as it identified areas in which works would have to be done and are ongoing. He noted that the Agreement for the drilling of the wells was signed at the highest levels with the two Heads of State (President David Granger and Brazil’s President Michel Temer) and therefore, it is incumbent on the Government to ensure that all systems are in place and working effectively to ensure a smooth flow of personnel and equipment from Brazil to the identified areas.
“I am here to inspect the works that are being done on the roads in South Rupununi in preparations for a massive well drilling exercise that will take place, utilising the Brazilian engineers and the Brazilian well drilling teams. I want to ensure that all of the preparations here are in place to receive the teams when they come and to ensure that once they get here, they can commence work without any hindrance,” he stated.
Further, the Minister of State said Government has undertaken efforts to fulfil its promise of a good life for all Guyanese and the drilling of the artesian wells is aimed at providing ease to the residents of the South Rupununi who often suffer from excessive flooding and droughts.
“It is important to these communities to ensure that they have a regular supply of potable water year round. We are aware that during dry season, there are droughts and during the wet season, there is flooding and we have to ensure that we do not have these communities subjected to the vagaries of the weather. [We must] put systems in place to ensure that this is addressed. I am satisfied with what I have seen and I satisfied that all of the work necessary to receive the team has been done,” said Minister Harmon.
Community sensitisations have also been done and the Village Councils will be given a final briefing next week before the drilling begins.
During the drilling phase, there will be technology transfer and capacity building, which will benefit several agencies including the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), the Hydro-meteorological Office (HydroMet), Ministry of Public Infrastructure as well as representatives from the eight villages.
Minister Harmon was accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, Director of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Colonel Gary Beaton, Commander of the Engineering Corps of the GDF and engineers from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
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 Co-operative 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.”