Katoonarib gets upgraded water system

The Amerindian Village of Katoonarib located in South Central Rupununi (Region Nine) is now receiving improved access to potable water following the completion of a water supply system, undertaken by the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI).

The system was officially commissioned on Saturday by Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, M.P.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues M.P. sitting at head table with village representatives.

Close to 400 persons are now receiving access to potable water which translates to 90 per cent of the community as opposed to an initial 25 per cent.

Addressing the villagers during the commissioning ceremony, Minister Rodrigues stated that the realisation of the new water supply systems in the interior region is as a result of consultation with Amerindian communities prior to government’s appointment to office. This process, she said, has helped to craft the commitments in their manifesto, which are being delivered one by one.

Minister Rodrigues pointed out that government’s intention is to reinstate the respect and honour that many Amerindian communities have lost under the previous administration. She further explained that many villages located on the coast were neglected simply because they were not within the geography of Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine which are considered hinterland regions.

The minister thanked the GWI team and community members for their cooperation in ensuring the success of the project.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Water, Mr. Andre Ally alluded to Government’s $345 M investment in the water sector for the hinterland, noting that $150 M of that sum is being pumped into Region Nine. This will ensure every community gets improved and first-time access to potable water.

Also addressing the gathering was Executive Director of Hinterland Services, Mr. Ramchand Jailal who said the shallow well that existed posed high risk for contamination while this new well will eliminate same. He highlighted that the main challenge in executing the project was running pipelines to some houses due to their geographic location.

He noted that GWI will continue to work to ensure that even those situated some distance away will have direct access to this improved service. 

As with every hinterland region where a new well is established, Mr. Jailal pointed out that Community Service Officers (CSOs) will be trained to maintain the system.

He expressed satisfaction with the work put in by the GWI well drilling team, as well as the efforts of community members in pipe laying.

Prime Ministerial Representative for Region Nine, Mrs. Claire Singh said the water system is yet another fulfillment of government’s commitment. She added that soon enough, the hinterland will be able to benefit from equal water service as on the coast.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues M.P. ribbon cutting with young girl

Ms. Susan David, a Katoonarib resident expressed appreciation to His Excellency, Mohamed Irfaan Ali for his dedication to the people, particularly those in the hinterland. She said with the realisation of the water system, she no longer has to walk long distances to fetch water.

Many other residents, including the CSOs also noted their satisfaction with the system and level of water service they are receiving.

Previously, the village accessed water from a shallow hand-dug well with a depth of approximately 20ft. and the water was pumped and stored in a reinforced concrete trestle.

During the dry season, the community suffered water shortage as the main source would run dry. Most of the residents would then have to rely on alternative means of obtaining water. Additionally, the distribution network did not extend beyond the central point of the community, preventing residents’ direct access to water.

However, the newly commissioned system saw the drilling of a new well by GWI’s hinterland team at a depth of close to 300ft or 80 meters deep, extension of the existing distribution network, rehabilitation of the water trestle, upgrading of the photovoltaic system and the installation of stand pipes. The overall project was executed in collaboration with the Katoonarib Village Council at a cost of $7.5 M and was financed by the Government of Guyana.