GWI to improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme in Reg. One
The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) plans to advance its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme in several communities in Barima-Waini (Region One).
The WASH programme is a partnership between GWI and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It was implemented to ensure villagers and Venezuelan migrants receive access to safe drinking water and improve sanitation and hygienic standards.
GWI’s Chief Executive Officer, Shaik Baksh on Tuesday led a technical team to the villages of Yarakita, White Water, Kamwatta and Khans Hill, where consultations were held to assess the effectiveness of the initiative.
Mr. Baksh said his engagement with community leaders and health officials indicated that the intervention has significantly benefitted residents and Venezuelan migrants. He noted that additional investments will be made to better the lives of residents there.
“However, there is need for us to do more work in these communities. For example, to extend the water distribution because we may have between 70 to 80 per cent coverage in some of the areas, so we need to expand the water network to at least bring it to 95 per cent coverage.”
Accordingly, GWI will continue to monitor and maintain the WASH systems and other infrastructure as they are essential to the welfare of the community.
Further, the water company is keen on resuscitating the watershed project at Hosororo. Mr. Baksh explained that the project was initiated during his tenure as CEO of GWI in 2013. He is still optimistic that the development could be tapped.
A six to nine-month feasibility study will have to be conducted by the Hydromet Department to ensure the sustainability of the water source. An instrument will be placed in the water source and technical officers will monitor the process monthly.
The Hydromet Department will then prepare a report which will provide details of how much water can be produced from that source.
Meanwhile, GWI’s Sanitation Manager and WASH project coordinator, Mr. Rensforde Joseph said through the partnership of GWI and UNCIEF, a new well was dug at White Water which provides potable water to more than 70 per cent of the community.
“This is including the migrants and not only just the well but we did a network, so at every home and every migrant settlement there is the presence of potable water. In those communities we have also looked at the sanitation aspect, so in White Water we have constructed more than 13 Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines,” Mr. Joseph added.
He said the first aspect of the WASH programme costs approximately $53 million which covered the VIP latrines, a boat and engine, tankers, among other things.
Some 35 VIP latrines have been constructed in several Region One communities with more than 3,000 Venezuelan migrants along with thousands of Guyanese benefitting.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) later joined the effort as another funding partner. This enhanced cooperation will see the WASH initiative being expanded and accelerated in Regions One, Two and Seven.