Baksh promises all Berbicians water within two years
By Daniel Da Costa
October 30, 2002
Minister of Water and Housing Shaik Baksh is assuring Berbicians that within another year or two the entire region will have access to potable water supply.
"We are almost there and I will put my head on a block for this," he assured during a television programme last weekend.
Two weeks ago President Bharrat Jagdeo had delivered a scathing tongue-lashing on engineers, officials and contractors over their performance within the water sector in East Berbice.
The President's criticism mirrored concerns and perennial difficulties encountered by consumers in sections of the region over the years.
Baksh said he was asked by the Head of State to visit the region to investigate the problems he had heard existed in various parts of the region.
He was accompanied by Paul Bonar, Managing Director (ag) of the Guyana Water Inc., Regional Manager (ag) Roy Codette and senior officials of the company. The team met with the Chairmen of the various Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and visited the problem areas. "The supply of water in the Vryheid area, West Canje, is fair but has to be improved. The two booster pumps which were installed recently at the New Amsterdam Plant will improve the supply to consumers but further improvements will come with the re-activation early next year of the overhead storage tank. However there is a lot of wastage in the town," the Minister commented after visiting the two areas.
Earlier Codette had said that consumers can look forward to "first-floor supply by Christmas." Consumers in the town have to pay $10,000 for a service connection before the end of October or face disconnection. This stipulation, according to officials of the company, had been in place for sometime but many consumers had failed to comply.
Touching on Black Bush Polder, Baksh said there were problems at Lesbeholden and Mibicuri. "However those problems would have been addressed over the past weekend. I don't think there is a major problem in Black Bush since consumers were receiving a fairly good supply of water."
At Maida some consumers are experiencing difficulties but according to Baksh that situation should have been resolved by last weekend with the upgrading of the pumps at Eversham and Adventure.
During the President's visit residents in the Port Mourant area complained about the problems they had been encountering. The area is served by the multi-million dollar Rose Hall Water Supply Project.
"We are having major problems in the areas served by the Plant," he admitted. "We are having technical difficulties at the Rose Hall Plant but we intend to install bigger pumps at Rose Hall and Port Mourant next week (this week) while another will be installed within another month." According to Baksh, there is need for more managerial skills to upgrade the system. The Plant serves villages between Number One and Whim.
He announced that following his visit residents at Free Yard, Ankerville and Bound Yard were receiving "a good supply of water."
Baksh also admitted that there was a major problem in Albion which includes Sand Reef, Topoo, Guava Bush, Doctor Bush and High Reef. "These areas are not connected to the Rose Hall Plant for some reason. Residents in the Kilcoy/Chesney (South) area are also experiencing difficulties as a result. We however plan to install a major transmission line from the plant to Albion and the surrounding areas while within two weeks we will install a larger pump at the Fyrish Well to boost supply."
"The company," he disclosed "will also segment water supply in the areas served by the Plant and consumers will be informed of the schedule of supply," adding, "I will be monitoring the situation over the next month."
Baksh, said further, he was happy with the situation on the Upper Corentyne but acknowledged that the supply at Linepath was "not so good." In the Nos. 52-61 area some consumers are receiving an inadequate supply while others are not receiving any. "A team of technicians is expected to visit the area shortly to look at the situation. However next year we intend to run a main transmission line in the area including the back streets to boost supply."
In the East Canje area where residents are facing severe problems, the Minister said a team of technicians would be dispatched to the area this week to look at the problems.
At Adelphi where residents are without water, Baksh said funding is required to run new pipelines.
Over the years government has spent billions of dollars in the water sector countrywide with major projects in New Amsterdam and Rose Hall. Touching on the Seawell/Palmyra area, Baksh disclosed that new lines are needed to boost supply and this will be addressed in the new year.
According to the Minister, within another 4-5 years the installation of meters countrywide would be completed while "within another five years 95 per cent of the nation along the coast and in riverain and hinterland areas will have access to potable water supply".