80% of population to have water meters over next five years -Baksh
Stabroek News
August 28, 2002

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Minister of Housing and Water, Shaik Baksh has emphasised that water metering is a requirement that is much needed because the country has been losing about 60 percent of the commodity.

During a television interview on the Government Information Agency (GINA) programme "Answers", Baksh said that metering is a countrywide programme and residents of Georgetown and other urban areas have already been given meters.

Baksh also stated that about 80 percent of the population will be metered over the next five years. The metering programme, he said, 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 metre," the minister said.

And in terms of tariff structures, he said, there are different categories of consumers and these will be there for another 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," the minister explained

He pointed out, according to GINA, that the ministry could not install meters to customers who are not receiving a good supply of water, adding that there are still some areas that need further improvement in terms of water supply.

He said that in order to control the wastage of water all transmission and distribution lines have to be replaced.

"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," GINA quoted the minister as saying.

He acknowledged that in some parts of the city where water meters are in place, there have been some problems in terms of the billing system which was installed through IBM, at considerable cost. Baksh said that some bills are going out with incorrect totals but systems have been set up at Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) to deal with the problem, GINA reported.