The service provided by Guyana Water Inc.
What the People say about...
By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
December 9, 2002

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Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) made headlines this week when the companyís managing director, Paul Bonar, revealed that the company is currently operating at a loss and would be embarking on a countryide disconnection campaign, owing to outstanding customer arrears of some $1.3B. The companyís financial woes have also been brought on by the increase in the cost of energy supplied by Guyana Power and Light (GPL). The company has now reduced its water delivery periods. With this in mind we asked the man\woman-in-the-street for their opinions on the service provided by GWI.

Juliet Ramcharran - businesswoman: `I am from Charity and when you turn on the water sometimes it stinks and the water is rusty. You have to let it run for a while then leave it to settle but remember every gallon you waste you have to pay for it. And itís not everybody that can afford to have a gutter to collect rainwater. Take me for example, I donít have a gutter, I have to depend on GWI all the time. Right now I use tanks. I full them and leave the water to settle but itís about two to three weeks before I could use the water. I have to use a detergent for washing, even to wash my wares and I try different kinds of soap because of the water and I notice they are damaging my hands. I donít think a lot of people have complained to the company but we think they should do something to improve the situation there. I think they should start treating the water like they do on the East Bank. They are not treating the water. And another thing is that we are not getting the water all day. We get the water from 5 am to 10 am and from 3 pm to 7 pm. Some people need the water all day through. All like this holiday that is coming up, housewives will be cleaning and doing a lot of work and they will need the water.í

Godfrey Hopkinson - clerk: `I live in La Grange and we get good water through the taps. The only problem is that sometimes you donít get the water during the night - sometimes you might come home late and want to bathe. Besides that I think everything is okay and I canít complain. But I work in Georgetown and from what I see they need to purify the water. Only Monday I was trying to get water from a tap and there was a lot of visible sediment. So they need to work on purification. Sometimes the water is even discoloured, itís brown. Generally, I think water should be available twenty fours hour a day because itís a vital part of life. We need it.í

Ann Coates - housewife: `I think they need to improve their service because when you get the water it comes brown, when you bathe with the water it scratches your skin and they want to increase the water rates, although the water pressure is low. I have to purchase water to drink all the time because I donít want my child drinking any of that, I donít want anything to happen to him. What I think they should do is provide better water, a better service: water that you could drink, water that doesnít itch your skin and water that is coming all the time. To know that you are paying so much water rates and still you have to pay for water to drink, it doesnít make any sense. They should think about all of that when they decide to raise water rates. They shouldnít only think about money, they should also be thinking about peopleís health. They are reducing the delivery time because they owe GPL, that is between them and GPL, it has nothing to do with the consumer paying water rates. They boast that Guyana is the land of many waters but we are still paying for it.í

Glen Collymore - student: `Iím not satisfied with the service. I live in East Ruimveldt and sometimes the water is very, very dirty and the water pressure is very, very low. We had to buy a pump so that we could get water upstairs. We have to clean the pipelines because of the dirt in the water. In our yard we disconnect a piece of the pipeline and we take out a lot of muck. They also have a lot of problems with their accounting. We paid our bills and still they came and disconnected us. These are things that they need to work on to improve their service.

Sharmilla Rajmoon: `I live at the Number Three Reserve at E Field Sophia and the water is stink! Stink! Itís not healthy for you to drink, sometimes it comes muddy, or red. And when you bathe with the water it scratches your skin. I normally throw Marvex bleach into the water when I have to use it. Another problem is that when the water comes the pressure is so low that it doesnít reach the standpipe and we would have to go to the neighbourís just to get water. They need to do something about it. We have complained to the company and they havenít done anything about the problems. They went to the Number Two reserve and they gave them pipelines but didnít give to us. And they said they were going to disconnect the standpipe that we at Number Three have. So how am I going to get water? They said that people who live in the street have to come together and dig a tunnel where they would run the pipeline. We did that and they still have not come back as yet.í

Luke Hinds - office attendant: `No. Itís not adequate. One reason is that we donít have enough delivery time, especially at nights. The iron content is too high and the water doesnít taste too well. And now that they are reducing the delivery time they are putting us at a disadvantage. The time period is already short and to make it even more shorter... The water rates are very high and why should they minimise the delivery time now. The water is brown, itís not satisfactory, it shouldnít be the way it is. Itís not consumable. They should make an effort to try to improve the services now. Itís the Christmas season, why minimise the water. I understand that you have to economise but consider the people who have to use the water everyday, how it will affect them.í

Audrey Hunte - teacher: `Although we get water at regular periods I think the quality needs to be improved. You cannot wash white clothing with that water at times, you have to wait until it runs off so that it gets clear. And sometimes if you want water to drink you have to fetch water from Thirst Park or purchase it at Water World. The high pressure times, when water usually runs in the house are usually from 5 am to 9 am, from 12 pm to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm at night. But I work and I am on the road sometimes and I canít be at home during the high pressure hours. When you come home you have to be in and out, in and out, fetching the water. The system is already poor and now they are reducing it. This morning I woke up minutes to six and there was no water at the tap. I think they should really try to improve their service instead of making these adjustments, especially at Christmas time when people need the water to do their cleaning-up or washing up.í

L. Amsterdam - junior staff, Uitvlugt Estate: `I live at West Demerara and we have a problem with water. The water pressure is nil. You have to dig a hole in the ground so that you get the water. When it is coming, the colour is atrocious. And donít think about putting it to settle because that wonít do anything. I put in bleach in the water to be on the safe side. I hear them talking about setting up treatment plants and I think that is what is needed there. Another problem is that once there is a blackout you got a water problem. The blackouts donít last long, maybe four hours, at a time, but we get them a lot. The services need to be improved in that area, they are talking about treatment plants, but quite a lot more needs to be done.í

Florence Walton - housewife: `I get water everyday, morning and night. Itís only sometimes when we get blackouts that I wouldnít get water. Now the water pressure is low, and I am hearing some people complain but we are still getting water, although it has reduced. It isnít really affecting me. What I donít like though is the colour of the water. I am very afraid of even drinking the water, itís very brown and it doesnít come clear.í

Desmond Watkins - pensioner: `I am not satisfied with the service because even when you bathe with the water, it is scratching your skin, they are not treating the water properly. The colour is not too bad, it fluctuates and you got to bide by the delivery times. They should try to improve the service. The water rates, I think, are too high, they are far above the ordinary man, and I am a pensioner. Although you canít always blame the water company because some people waste water, always leaving their taps running.í

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