Turn on the water!
-Wismar community urges
By Cathy Wilson
October 20, 2002
Residents of Block 22 Wismar, Linden are threatening to take strong action if they do not get some water soon.
At a meeting called by the recently formed community development committee (CDC) they highlighted a number of issues that have been causing their lives to be uncomfortable - the main one being the non-supply of water to the area.
But the news does not appear good for the residents. According to a source at GWI, improvements are not likely in the immediate future.
The residents of the small but quickly developing community with a population of approximately 150 households have been without potable water supply since December of 2001.
Addressing the regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo, who was specially invited to the meeting, residents said their problems began when the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) assumed responsibility for water in Linden.
Stabroek News understands that after the takeover the institution abandoned the water supply system that was installed with self-help by residents and sponsored by SIMAP. "When SIMAP give us these pipelines, men, women and children spent endless hours everyday digging and laying pipes because we were desperate for water", one resident said. But they say GWI abandoned the system that provided water to stand pipes at several strategic points in the community, and constructed a system that was intended to supply water to individual households. However it was said by residents that since the new system was installed residents had only one week of heavy flow of water and not a drop since.
According to the CDC President, several visits were made to the GWI Linden office to have the matter addressed but all to no avail. He said the Linden Officer in Charge visited the area twice and on both occasions promised to have the problem addressed in a week's time but these promises were never fulfilled.
Approximately two months ago the residents picketed the Linden office but there was still no positive response. They complained that the officer in charge Leroy Rose frequently told them that his hands were tied since he was not in a position to make any firm decision without the approval of the Georgetown headquarters.
Residents say officials did not do a proper study of the area before installing the new system and had brought persons from Georgetown to construct it in an area that they were not familiar with.
In addressing the residents on the issue, Mingo said that he had raised the concerns regarding water with GWI at a special meeting which was met with empty promises. Mingo is expected to meet with the authority again to address the problems of Block 22.
Stabroek News was reliably informed by a source close to GWI that the problems faced by residents of Block 22 are numerous. According to the source, Block 22 is usually fed water through the water treatment plant at Wisroc. It was noted that currently this plant has only one small booster pump in working order, which is unable to effectively pump water to the many areas it services. Two other pumps at the plant are undergoing extensive repairs which are not expected to be completed soon due to a shortage of funds. In addition the management was hoping to use the funds to carry out major repairs to the water treatment plant at Linden. The source said the water problems faced by residents at Linden are not expected to be corrected in the near future, since most of the plants are in a deplorable condition.
Meanwhile Mingo said he is scheduled to meet with several cooperative entities to organise the construction and maintenance of the main road to the area, which is frequently in a deplorable condition being the main route for heavy earth moving vehicles. Additionally he noted that by the end of October the RDC in collaboration with the Town Council will commence infrastructural work in the community with the $3M allotment from the government as this year's regional capital budget. An additional $3M was also allotted for road works in Amelia's Ward.
It was noted that the small sum would not be able to construct a mile of road and would see the implementation of temporary drainage.
Other issues residents highlighted included the absence of telephone services. They say in times of emergency persons would have to run to neighbouring Wisroc to use private home phones since public facilities are about three miles into Wisroc.
Inadequate electricity supply was another problem highlighted. They noted that the small transformer is suspected to be overloaded and as such they are severely affected by low voltage, which causes costly damage to their household appliances.