Georgetown, Guyana – (February 22, 2020) Director General, Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Joseph Harmon, this afternoon, commissioned a $1.28 billion (US$6.1M) Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Water Treatment Plant at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three), which will now serve an estimated 21,000 residents.

The Project is part of a US$31.6M loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union, which has also seen the construction of similar plants at Diamond, East Bank Demerara and Sheet Anchor, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) and the upgrading of pressure, quality and continuity of water supply in Georgetown. The loan also caters for the reduction of the level of Non-Revenue Water in the listed areas, improving access to adequate sanitation in the areas and the strengthening of the GWI’s performance in its operational and management water supply practices.

Director General Harmon, in his remarks, said GWI must be commended for its efforts in taking service to the people. He noted that President David Granger had expressed his vision of seeing access to basic services to every Guyanese and it is clear that the GWI is taking this mandate seriously.

“Politicians should understand that service to the people is his [or her] primary responsibility and duty. I hail from this region and therefore any improvements to the quality of life of the people, I cheer. The GWI has been on a trailblazing expedition in this country. What we have been seeing in the GWI is attention to the smallest man irrespective of where they are and it’s in keeping with the mandate given by President David Granger that the quality of life enjoyed by those in Georgetown must be the same quality of life that is enjoyed by every citizen and they have taken that mandate seriously,” he said.

Mr. Harmon noted that water is a human right not a privilege and the Government must ensure that the provision of this service is afforded the priority it deserves. He added that as the Government embarks on building communities throughout Guyana, the GWI while providing this service to existing areas must also plan and ensure that the new areas allocated for housing are provided with water before citizens move into their homes.

“You have a right to a high quality and good quality of water. It is a human right. It is not something that is a privilege. We consider this to be part of the quality of life that people are entitled to. As we embark on the ‘Decade of Development’ and the abolishment of squatting, the GWI has an additional task now: [it] must plan ahead for where human settlements will be so that you don’t wait until a house is there before water can go there. A community requires certain facilities to be there before you go there to live so certainly the GWI must now sit and plan with Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) and the Ministry of Communities and recognise that they have to plan the orderly development of these communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to the Chief Executive Office of the GWI, Dr. Richard van West-Charles, the plant will serve residents in the areas of Hague Back, Cornelia Ida, Anna Catherina, Leonora, Stewartville, Uitvlugt, Zeeburg, De Willem, Meten-Meer-Zorg and De Kinderen, 24 hours per day.

He said the residents will benefit from the use of treated water, water that is free from iron and pathogenic organisms and other contaminants and is safe for drinking purposes and household usage.

“Water quality is important and for all the residents that will be served by this facility, they do not have to purchase bottled water. This is the trend where GWI is putting water quality at the centre of what we do. We are completing [one water treatment plant each at] Pouderoyen and then Westminster. We will also see improvements in Wakenaam and Leguan. It is the intent to ensure that what we have signed on to in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that access to water throughout the length and breadth of Guyana will be available to all residents and we feel that we can accomplish this in 2025 as against 2030,” the CEO said.

Dr. van West-Charles said that along with the construction of water treatment plants, the GWI has purchased two well drilling rigs, which will arrive this month, one of which will be sent to the hinterland and the other will be utilised in Georgetown. These rigs, he said, will see wells being drilled at Farm, East Bank Demerara and Central Georgetown, among other areas. This, he noted, will ensure that almost every area is served on a 24-hour basis.

Regional Executive Officer, Mrs. Jennifer Ferreira-Dougal said she is pleased that residents of the region can now look forward to reliable, quality water from the GWI. She lauded the Government, noting that it is clear that the administration is providing service to every Guyanese, regardless of perceived political affiliations or their geographic locations.

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