Govt supports GWI strategy to improve access, quality of water
Guyana Water Incorporated wishes to present the following facts on issues being circulated on social media regarding the company’s operations, specifically as it relates to water quality, the dismissal of staff members and fraud.
GWI was in a deplorable state when the new Government took office in August 2020. The company was on the verge of a financial collapse. The utility made a significant operations loss of $1.1 billion at August 2020, despite significant increases in tariffs to customers in 2018 and 2019.
The average employment cost was $94 million in 2015 compared to $239 million dollars in 2020. The total number of employees moved from 600 in 2015 to over 1300 in August 2020 and bank overdrafts were required to pay salaries. Payment of salaries to employees was delayed each month.
Debt to suppliers totalled over $900 million at August 2020. In addition to this, the company also had an accumulated debt of $7 billion owed to GPL at August 2020.
Over 5,000 customers were denied new service connections, while leak repairs could not be done because inventory was at zero. Over 10,000 leaks were fixed from September 2020 to March 2021, while important items such as pumps and motors were not available.
The cost of a questionable water chemical called SeaQuest was $1.8 billion.
It became necessary to reduce employment numbers and cost, which was decided upon following a consultative process and agreement among the Board of Directors, Management and the Workers Union.
As it relates to water quality, there is no shortage of chemicals (Alum, Lime and Chlorine) and water quality meets WHO standards.
The colour of the water is as a result of the iron from the aquifer. Additionally, a programme is in place to bring treated water to 90 per cent of the population on the coast by 2025.
The $30 million fraud was perpetrated on the commercial bank and did not occur at GWI.
A new strategic plan is in place since January and the Government of Guyana has been supporting the company and its recovery to provide an improved level and quality of water service to all communities across Guyana.