Port Kaituma to Benefit from Multiple Water Sources

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 – Georgetown, Guyana Though surface water is the main source of water supply for the residents of Port Kaituma, Region One, the Guyana Water Incorporated has committed to making alternative sources available.

This assurance was given in the wake of test results, which have revealed mercury levels higher than the concentration acceptable to the World Health Organization (WHO) present in the Kaituma River, thus making it unsafe for use.

GWI’s Managing Director, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles and a team of officials met with the Chairperson and Councillors of the Matarkai Neighbourhood Democratic Council in Port Kaituma on Saturday, July 7 to discuss with them, the company’s challenges and plans.

Dependency on surface water is common throughout Interior Regions, however, as part of GWI’s mandate to ensure water is safe, regular tests are carried out. Samples were taken from the Kaituma River and sent to the Kaizen Environmental Services Laboratory in Trinidad, where it tested positive for mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal in liquid form used during mining activities. The discovery of the substance was made in May 2018 and GWI took the decision to cease pumping the water to residents. Another test is being conducted from different sections of the source.

There are two wells in the community which GWI intends to activate. One is situated at Turn Basin and another at Citrus Grove, Port Kaituma. Executive Director of Project Implementation and Partnership Building, Mr. Ramchand Jailal noted however that when operational, they will still be insufficient to serve all the residents at the same time as the production is low.

In this Regard, the Managing Director informed the NDC Councillors that GWI wants to work with them to identify a suitable site to commence drilling of a new well immediately. He explained that this is urgent and therefore the decision was taken to secure the services of a contractor who recently drilled a well in the neighbouring community of Oronoque. His equipment will be relocated so that works can begin shortly. Dr. Van West-Charles added that “When the tests return we will share with the Region and GWI will work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to take a strong stance on mining activities here. We will also test other sources such as creeks and springs.”

Mr. Jailal added that 200ft from the current turn basin well would be an ideal location to drill the new well. The well is expected to be completed within 2-3 weeks and the water will be gravity-fed to homes from an existing storage tank. He also cautioned residents to be mindful of consuming water from the river.

Mrs. Margaret Lambert, Chairperson of the Matarkai NDC, committed to working with the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, so as to agree on a suitable location for drilling to commence. She also raised issues regarding the lack of water during the dry season.

In an effort to provide relief and an improved service to the community, Dr. Van West-Charles also committed to: ensuring the Oronoque well is completed within 2 weeks, complete a new well at Arakaka, install a C2 Lifesaver filter tank at the Port Kaituma hospital, ensure a sufficient water supply for the new school term and explore additional water sources at 4 mile to supply the Pittsburgh and One & a half mile areas.

Additionally, the Managing Director requested the Region to assist in identifying areas without access to potable water so that GWI can make interventions.