Fourteen thousand residents now accessing treated water

−President Ali commissions Sheet Anchor Water Treatment Plant

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali commissioned a water treatment plant at Sheet Anchor, Region 6 on Saturday, bringing Guyana one step closer to the Government’s goal of providing treated water to 90% of coastal residents.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

The plant was initiated by President Ali when he was Minister of Housing, responding to complaints from residents about the quality of piped water. Funding was galvanised under a loan for the Water Supply and Sanitation Infrastructure Improvement Programme, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU).

Part of the water treatment plant infrastructure at Sheet Anchor, Region 6

Today, over 14,000 residents of multiple Region 6 communities are benefitting from treated water from the plant, which meets World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for drinking-water quality.

Stressing the importance of such a project, Dr. Ali said, “There is a reason why water is a fundamental right. It cuts across every barrier, social, political, all these barriers, it cuts across, because it is an important ingredient for life itself.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Shaik Baksh, explained that the project took a while to be completed because of poor project management under the previous administration from 2015-2020.

President Ali said he was shocked to discover that the project took so long to complete.

“I thought this facility was completed a long time ago, and the benefit of this facility, the people would have been receiving.”

The development of certain services, Dr. Ali said, should never be allowed to fall prey to political manipulation.

President Ali reminded how well the PPP/C Government had managed the GWI prior to 2015. The current chairman of the Board, Ramesh Dookhoo, and other members of the Board were also members then, the President reminded. He said they would concur that GWI had grown to a point where it was well-positioned for “rapid takeoff”, as the PPP/C had left a comprehensive plan for the organisation’s development.

Water treatment plant at Sheet Anchor, Region 6

“We brought the company from a neglected non-profit scenario to a situation where we were actually at breakeven… approaching the breakeven point.”

“So, listening to the type of regression that took place, and I’m not speaking about any personality here. I’m speaking only about performance. The type of regression that took place from up-to-date audits to a situation where the company audits were delayed for years, where the operational costs when through the roof, are things that we must not take for granted.”

Part of the water treatment plant infrastructure at Sheet Anchor, Region 6

Despite these challenges, the President said he was happy to hear that the company now has clear directions.

He directed GWI to make transparency and accountability the hallmarks of its operations, not only in terms of auditing and finances, but in how it deals with the communities that it serves.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, said it is vital to the PPP/C Government to maintain healthy livelihoods for the Guyanese people.

“When water is scarce or it’s inadequate, it interferes with our livelihood from a day-to-day basis. Therefore, we must all work together to ensure that our communities are not affected.”

Part of the water treatment plant infrastructure at Sheet Anchor, Region 6

“I urge, therefore, as we focus on reducing non-revenue water that we report immediately leakages, we also guard against dumping of garbage into areas or sources for which we have to get water, and over the next four years, you can be rest assured your government intends to spend billions of dollars within the water sector to increase our clean, safe water so that you could see a massive increase in our water supply coverage.”

He said more wells will be dug, and more persons will be receiving service connections. These actions, he said, will be in-keeping with government’s commitment to the people, and to Guyana’s achievement of its United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Hon. Susan Rodrigues M.P., was also present.