$22.5 billion budgeted for water sector advancement this year

With $16.8 billion invested in the water sector last year, the government has allocated an additional $22.5 billion in the 2024 budget to enhance water quality and improve supply systems nationwide.

Senior Minister within the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, disclosed this during the national budget presentation on Monday.

A child accessing potable water in the hinterland

Minister Singh outlined the interventions made to improve access to potable water in coastal and urban areas last year.

These include the extension of transmission and distribution networks were completed for unserved areas including Experiment, Kuru Kururu, Mibicuri, No. 63 Village, Paradise, Parika Backdam, Swan, Windsor Castle and Yarrowkabra benefiting approximately 6,500 residents.

Works are also advancing on transmission and distribution mains at Annandale Housing Scheme, Cotton Tree, El Dorado, Fellowship, New Amsterdam and Providence to benefit approximately 72,000 residents.

In 2024, Dr Singh said works will advance on the drilling of wells at Bamia, Caledonia, Lima and Onderneeming and commence at Fellowship, Timehri and Vergenoegen.

To improve hinterland water supply, in 2023, a total of 31 new wells were drilled benefiting approximately 8,000 residents in areas including Capoey, Kaikan and Wauna.

Works on the upgrade and extension of water supply systems were also completed at Kumu, Moco Moco, Mountain Foot, Quiko and Wowetta, while works are progressing at Karaburi and Wallaba.

“At the end of 2023, hinterland water coverage stood at 82 percent compared to 46 percent at the end of 2020,” Dr Singh emphasised.

In 2024, $1.5 billion has been allocated to further improve hinterland water supply systems in areas including Baracara, Kimbia, Santa Cruz, Santa Mission, St. Ignatius, Saxacalli, Orealla, Red Hill, Wakapao, Wax Creek, and Wiruni.

Regarding water quality and services, progress has been made on the upgrade of 12 existing water treatment plants last year, with these projects expected to be completed in 2024.

Dr Singh added, “construction commenced on seven new water treatment plants which will be substantially completed in 2024.”

Furthermore, procurement has commenced for the construction of an additional five water treatment plants at Adventure, Bath, Leguan, Maria’s Delight, and Wakenaam. The sum of $14 billion has been allocated for these and other interventions aimed at improving water quality, benefiting over 400,000 residents.

Since assuming office in 2020, the government has installed 64,462 meters across the country, reducing non-revenue water to 62 percent by the end of 2023 compared to 69 percent at the end of 2020.

It is anticipated that non-revenue water will be further reduced to 58 percent by the end of 2024 with the installation of 30,000 additional meters.