Georgetown, Guyana – (November 28, 2018) The eight artesian wells drilled by the Government of Brazil through the Sixth Battalion Engineering Corps (BET) of the Brazilian Army and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were, today, formally handed over to the Government of Guyana and the eight villages, in which they were drilled.
The wells were handed over during a simple but significant ceremony held in Aishalton village, Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo, Region Nine and was attended by Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge, Vice-President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson, Brazilian Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Lineu Pupo de Paula and other officials of the Region, Brazilian Army, GDF and other agencies associated with the project.
Minister Greenidge, who delivered the feature address said the Project comes at a time when the two countries are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties. He noted that Guyana is susceptible to droughts and floods and the Rupununi is no exception. These floods and droughts have impacts on the lives of the residents of these communities and this project has therefore been completed and recognized as a significant achievement, the Minister stated.
“Safe water is essential to communities and these efforts at the bilateral level to deal with the problem that both sides are familiar with is one area which can ensure that we grow closer together. Both countries have been committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and these projects fall directly in the ambit of the Goal Six, which speaks to clean water and sanitation. The artesian wells that have been drilled are a tangible achievement which has not only been successfully implemented but I think we can guarantee they will have a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of those of you that are from the eight communities. I hope that the residents can enjoy the health, environmental and economic benefits that comes with potable water,” the minister said.
Minister Harmon, in his brief remarks, said though challenges were experienced from the start of the project, they [challenges] were overcome through careful planning and multi and inter-agency collaboration and cooperation.
“We believe that irrespective of where people are, be it Aishalton, Region One, Seven or Nine, our mandate is to provide the good life and whatever resources are available to the State, we are going to work with the Councils and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and Regional Democratic Councils to fulfil that mandate of providing a good life,” Minister Harmon said.
Moreover, Minister Harmon said every stakeholder must be proud of the achievement while noting that “the world can see how as neighbours we can collaborate to provide a better life for our citizens. There were soldiers in this Project but they weren’t fighting, they were collaborating to provide potable water to our citizens and it goes to show that there are other functions of the Army.”
Meanwhile, Brazilian Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Lineu Pupo de Paula, who was visibly emotional, said he was pleased to be see such an important project completed while noting the benefits to be accrued by residents of the nine communities.
“I think this is the most important celebration of the 50th anniversary of our bilateral ties. I congratulate the Officers and soldiers. We are friends, we are brothers and we are neighbours,” he said.
Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), which is the coordinating agency; Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said Guyana has embraced the concept of comprehensive disaster risk management while pointing to climate change and the effects thereof.
“The central focus of which is to place greater emphasis on the impacts of climate change, to incorporate more prevention and mitigation measures and to inculcate its components into the national risk management agenda. This project apart from providing potable water to residents is an effective risk reduction initiative aimed at minimising the effects of droughts as experienced annually in the targeted communities,” Craig stated.
Regional Chairman, Mr. Brian Allicock thanked the Governments of Guyana and Brazil for the work done on the wells while noting that the nine wells will provide significant relief to the residents of the South Rupununi.
Commanding Officer Sixth BEC, Brazilian Army, Lieutenant Colonel, Vandir Pereira Soares, who provided an overview of the project said the well in Aishalton is 80 meters depth with a flow rate of 5,000 litres per hour; Karaudarnau is 80 meters deep with a flow rate of 4,500 litres per hour, Awarewaunau has been drilled to 100 meters depth with a flow rate 4,000 litres per hour and Chukrikednau was drilled to 80 meters depth and boasts of a flow rate of 6,000 litres per hour.
Maruranau’s well was drilled to a depth of 80 meters and has a flow rate of 3,500 litres per hour, Shea was drilled to a depth of 100 meters and has a 4,000 litres per hour flow rate while Achiwuib is 60 meters deep with a flow rate of 6,000 litres per hour and Bashaidrun was drilled to an 80 meters depth with a flow rate of 6,000 litres per hour.
Aside from the drilling and setting up of the wells, the road network in the South Rupununi as well as capacity building of members of the GDF, Guyana Water Incorporated, Hydrometereological Office and officials from the communities were also improved through the project. Through the training and capacity building, the Guyanese team was able to drill the last two wells.
Meanwhile, in an invited comment, Toshao of Aishalton Village, Mr. Michael Thomas said the wells will benefit residents of the eight communities tremendously.
“First of all, I would like to thank the Government for the initiative placed in our region and our sub-district and in our villages. We are glad for the eight wells that will be drilled in our villages. We are going to benefit tremendously and the residents are already excited to access the water. We have been suffering for a very long time in the Rupununi where we have to divert to creeks in the dry season but after a time, that runs out of water too, so this initiative is going to benefit us,” he said.
The 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.”