Water company says pump has to be removed for repairs
By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
November 21, 2002

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The Guyana Water Inc. says the pump at Mocha will have to be removed if residents want it repaired and it says it is open to talks on the dispute over the facility.

As the standoff between the utility and some residents continued yesterday, GWI Public Relations Officer (PRO), Audreyanna Thomas said GWI would not allow these residents to dictate how the company should carry out its operations. On Tuesday villagers damaged a bridge thereby blocking GWI engineers from repairing the water pump donated by the Canada-financed group, Futures Fund, some years ago. The residents are claiming that they were told by a GWI source that the pump would be taken out and given to another village. They are demanding that repairs be done on site.

The PRO said, "the pump was scheduled for servicing on Tuesday and the engineers still have that on their schedule and the fact that the water pressure is dropping rapidly I think it requires urgent attention and we will treat it that way."

Yesterday two engineers visited the pump station to assess the extent of the damage to the bridge which residents sabotaged to stop a crane entering the compound. Thomas told this newspaper that the bridge would have to be repaired first. Repairs to the bridge should have commenced yesterday but reports are that no such work was done. Thomas noted that the pump should have been serviced since July this year, but because of the earlier problems the utility had with residents while laying pipelines in the area, it had to be rescheduled. She said the repairs are now urgently needed.

Referring to the residents' position that any repairs have to be done on site, Thomas said the pump would have to be removed from the village. "The normal procedure is for us to remove the pump. The kind of maintenance that is required to the Mocha pump as well as the others requires the extraction of the pump from the well and servicing it."

Thomas said this is common practice and the same pump had been removed last year.

Commenting on the issue of trust, Thomas told this newspaper that, "GWI would like to say to the residents that, what they need to understand is that the matter has been blown out of proportion and they need to examine the real issue, which is, they are being serviced by a pump which by the very nature of the mechanism ... requires maintenance."

With regards to the residents feeling that GWI wants to take away their pump Thomas said GWI has made several attempts to resolve the matter without much success. "But I rather suspect that the people of Mocha are very wise and they will exercise wisdom in this matter so that we can arrive at an amicable solution at the end." She said GWI has been saying to residents who have questions to call at the GWI office.

Thomas said work on the Eccles water treatment plant is ongoing and nothing has changed with regards to that, adding that Mocha is a part of the project by its very location. The project takes in Eccles to Friendship on the East Bank of Demerara.

But Emerson Brandford, a Mocha resident, said as far as residents were concerned the current pump is adequate. He said no water treatment plant was needed. He said that residents should not be fooled into believing that when the treatment plant is set up their problems would be over, contending that their pump would have to be decommissioned which meant that someone else would inherit it.

He is calling for a Memorandum of Understand-ing to be made out with regards to the use of the pump when the treatment plant comes into operation. Thomas said that it would not serve any purpose for the pump to be left in the village inoperable.

She declared that GWI does not covet the pump but maintains it and pays for its operation. "So when the Eccles project comes to an end the treated water will be distributed to Mocha, and while it is simple for them to say that they do not want the pump to be decommissioned, there are other matters which would have to be addressed with regards to the current service which they are getting."

There is another pump in the village concealed in a container which was also donated by Futures Fund. Thomas said the pump belongs to the residents and they are the ones to decide on its use.

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