Water relief for affected communities-Luncheon
By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
April 25, 2003

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The special Drought Assessment Committee established by Cabinet to monitor and report on the impact of the unusually long dry season in all ten administrative regions has noted the onset of rainfall in several regions.

This was disclosed by Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon at his weekly news conference yesterday.

He said that in its most recent report the Committee has informed Cabinet that in four out of five of the hinterland regions there has been the onset of rains, thereby making more water available, and should this trend continue, the situation would significantly improve. The regions that have seen the onset of rains include 7, 8, 9 and 10, the report stated.

However, the report observed that in Region 1 (Barima/Waini) there has been no rainfall resulting in a lack of potable water, while in the coastal regions rainfall has been minimal resulting in a shortage of potable water as well as that for agricultural purposes. Region 6 has been severely affected, Dr. Luncheon said.

He pointed out that because of the critical situation in some communities water distribution is ongoing and is being executed by the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO).

Should the situation deteriorate, Government would be adopting a more aggressive action, whereby GWI would assume formal scheduling and responsibility for the distribution of water in the affected communities, the HPS assured, adding that the regional administrations would coordinate the exercise.
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Cabinet has been examining the weather forecasts of the Hydrometereological Department but noted that they have not been conclusive, but should the anticipated May/June rains come it would lead to a seasonal correction of the present water shortage, Dr. Luncheon offered.

The Committee in its preliminary report to Cabinet had revealed that the water levels in the major conservancies in Regions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are extremely low because of an extensive dry season with low levels of rainfall.

The preliminary reports by the Assessment Committee had stated that there has been extremely low rainfall in the ten regions, resulting in low levels of water in the rivers, creeks and the other natural bodies.

Due to the present state of water levels it has been observed that on the coastal plain there has been increasing intrusion of salt water up the riverways, in the savannahs and low levels of water in shallow wells, the preliminary report noted.

The Committee was appointed by Cabinet to examine and report regularly on the situation as regards the availability of primarily potable water and water being used for agricultural purposes, in addition to water being used for other purposes.

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