Citizens urged to conserve  water, as GWI hosts World Water Day walkathon

In recognition of World Water Day 2023, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Sunday morning held a walkathon, which started at the seawall roundabout and ended at GWI’s office on Vlissengen Road, Georgetown.

The event was led by Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, and the Chief Executive Officer of GWI, Shaik Baksh.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, Chief Executive Officer of GWI, Shaik Baksh and Deputy Representative of UNICEF Guyana and Suriname, Irfan Akhtar participating in the walkathon exercise

During brief remarks, Minister Rodrigues emphasised that water is rapidly becoming one of the world’s scarcest resources. She urged citizens to conserve and practice better water management.

“Here in Guyana, we have the privilege of having access to water, 97 per cent…A lot of countries in the world still do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. So, we have to think about what is going on globally to really appreciate our situation locally,” she said.

The minister stated that while the government has been working to ensure universal access to water, its priority has now shifted towards ensuring access to treated water that meets the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of 0.3 milligrams per litre or less of iron content.

“Our goal is to ensure that 90 per cent of our population receives treated water by 2025This is five years in advance of the Stainable Development Goal of 2023,” the minister added.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the government is investing in the construction of 13 new treatment plants across the country to ensure citizens have access to treated water. Additionally, existing water treatment plants are also being upgraded.

Mr Baksh said the water company is committed to providing safe water and sanitation to all Guyanese by 2030, with the government investing billions of dollars annually in the sector.

He also highlighted that GWI has achieved 97 per cent access to water and is actively working towards achieving 100 per cent access by the year 2025.

Meanwhile, UNICEF Deputy Representative for Guyana and Suriname, Irfan Akhtar stated that the organisation is delighted to collaborate with GWI to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the hinterland.

Staff along with other stakeholders during the walkathon Sunday morning

More than 2.2 billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water, leading to the spread of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, which is particularly deadly for children.

Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of fresh water and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.

This year, the focus of World Water Day is on ‘accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis.’ GWI Board Member and Member of Parliament, Dharamkumar Seeraj, and representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hydrometeorological Service were among those who participated in the exercise.