Water metering programme is necessary
-- Minister of Housing and Water
Guyana Chronicle
August 23, 2002

Related Links: Articles on stuff
Letters Menu Archival Menu

MINISTER of Housing and Water, Mr. Shaik Baksh has emphasised that metering is a requirement because "we are losing about 60 per cent of (treated) water in this country".

He added that there is a metering programme countrywide and residents of Georgetown and other urban centres have already been given meters, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) stated.

Baksh said that in order to control the wastage of water, all the transmission and distribution lines have to be replaced. He explained that the total replacement of pipelines will take some time but that the authority is working to accomplish that.

"We have replaced over 1,000 miles of pipelines in this country since this Government took office and this is required. The metering programme also forces people to conserve on the use of water, because people usually leave their taps on day and night.

"We have seen evidence of this already, where people are conserving on this precious resource," said Baksh.

He explained that water is a very expensive resource to produce because it has to be extracted, treated and distributed and this carries a high cost factor especially in terms of energy. He emphasised that the electricity bill is phenomenal because about 50 per cent of the cost is for electricity.

"For some parts of the city, we do have the water meters in place. But we have been having some problems in terms of the billing system. We have expended a large sum of money to install a new billing system through the IBM Company, but we are having some problems," the minister stated.

He explained that some bills are going out with incorrect totals, but systems have been set up at Guyana Water Incorporated to deal with the problem.

"In terms of the tariff structures, there are different categories of consumers and these will be there for about five years. We have the fixed-rate customers and they pay a fixed rate each month. And then there are the metered customers.

"We are trying to meter all commercial enterprises and in certain areas, like urban centres where people are receiving a better supply of water," explained Baksh.

He emphasised that the water authority cannot install meters to customers, who are not receiving a good supply of water. He pointed out that there are still some areas that need further improvement in terms of water supply.

It was noted that residents who are living in areas where there are water factories and are receiving treated water are being given meters.

Baksh said about 80 per cent of the population will be metered over the next five years.

The metering programme is partly funded by international donor agencies because they see the virtues of the metering programme in terms of conservation.

"It is important that people, who use a certain quantity of water per month, pay a lower rate and if persons exceed a certain quantity, they will have to pay a higher rate per cubic meter," the minister said.