$2B invested to improve water access in Hinterland; another $1.4B earmarked for this year

The government has invested over $2 billion to improve water access in the hinterland and riverine communities, with an additional $1.4 billion set to be invested this year.

This is according to Minister Within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues

She was addressing Amerindian Village leaders of Region Nine at the Regional Toshaos’ Conference in Lethem on Friday.

The minister said these investments have yielded significant results, with water coverage in the hinterland increasing from 46 per cent to 75 per cent by the end of 2022.

While the overall population with access to potable water stands at an impressive 97 per cent,  the hinterland and riverine communities lag behind at 75 per cent.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues addressing concerns of Region Nine Toshaos at the meeting

Recognising this, Minister Rodrigues said the  aim is to increase the hinterland coverage to 87 per cent by the end of this year,  and 100 per cent by 2025.

“The UN sustainable Development Goal Six speaks to the provision of clean water for all by 2030, but here in Guyana,  we are going to do it five years earlier,” she underscored.

More than 40 new wells have been completed to provide service to more than 15,000 hinterland residents for the first time. Minister Rodrigues revealed that another  40 new wells are on schedule to be completed by the end of this year.

In Region Nine, wells were completed in Rupertee, Aranaputa, Wowetta,  Shulinab, Annai, Toka, Katoonarib, Potarinau, Parikwarinau and St Ignatius during the period 2020 to 2021.

A section of the gathering at the Toshaos’ meeting in Region Nine

As a result of interventions made by President Irfaan Ali during his visit in 2022, Shulinab, Shea, Meriwau, Quarrie and Awarewarnau villages are benefitting from an extension of their water supply systems. Para Bara, Sawariwau and Karaudarnau villages also benefitted from similar interventions.

The new GWI office was also completed in Lethem and 114 Community Support Officers (CSO) were trained in basic maintenance of water supply systems.

This year, $650 million was allocated to the GWI to execute a number of projects. Water supply systems were extended in Aranaputa, Moco Moco, Sand Creek, Karasabai, Wowetta, Quiko, Massara, Baitoon, Crash Water, Kattur, Tiger Pond, Kumu and Bashaidrun.

New wells are being drilled and distribution networks being extended in Kaicumbay village, Aishalton, Awarewarnau, Maruranau, Potarinau, Hiowa, Parishara, Semonie, Quatata, Shiriri, Katoonarib, Fairview and Rupertee.

A section of the gathering at the Toshaos’ meeting in Region Nine

Minister Rodrigues said that the per capita investment in Region Nine stands at  $65,914 per person, which is more than seven times the per capita investment for the period 2015-2019 which was $8,847.

This is development…out government remains committed to deliver on our promises to all regions and communities, and to the development of Amerindians. That’s a hallmark of this PPP/C  government,” she said.

Meanwhile, under the Hinterland Housing Programme, the government plans to construct a number of homes for vulnerable families. Ten villages have been identified to benefit from the programme in Region Nine.