$1.5B pumped into hinterland water coverage
In its quest to increase hinterland water coverage by 100 per cent by 2025, the government has injected some $1.5 billion into its hinterland water programme since August 2020.
This money has resulted in the drilling of new well systems and upgrades to existing systems in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine. Several riverine Amerindian communities within the coastal regions are being looked at for upgrades to the systems.
Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal, while speaking on the sidelines of the commissioning of the Annai water distribution system in Region Nine, said the investments are based on an assessment done on water coverage across the hinterland.
Based on that assessment, Minister Croal said the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) crafted a five-year strategic plan to guide the hinterland and coastal water programme.
“We have an assessment of the entire country’s level of service and networking that is required to ensure that we have expanded distribution. Because, while you may have water in a community, it may not be to the entire village or that cluster. So, that is what guides us and informs us as to when we are preparing our budgetary requests,” he explained.
Minister Croal explained that while the focus is on coverage, an important component of the programme is to ensure residents are receiving water of acceptable quality.
Therefore, emphasis is placed on those communities that depend on the creeks or rivers for water for domestic use, he stated.
“Many of the riverine communities, for example, their main source of water is from the river, as the years go by the quality of that water gets bad because of the number of mining activities the amount of movement within the river…so, we have been putting more and more systems in those areas as well as seeking to tap into the natural flow if they’re spring water as well as using from the mountains,” the minister noted.
In the case of Region Nine, Minister Croal said that some $200 million was expended to improve the water service there. This has resulted in water coverage in that region moving from 40 per cent to 70 per cent.
Moreover, another $270 million to construct several new wells and expand coverage in several areas has been allocated.
The minister explained, “$150 million is part of our 2022 budget and through the support coming from the initiative by President Irfaan Ali, during his outreach where he made several commitments, we have another $120 million or thereabout that will be pumped into Region Nine.”
The initiatives, he said are aimed at providing a better quality of life to the citizens. It is also in keeping with the Government of Guyana’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Six- water and sanitation for all.