Guyana ranks number five in water availability
Stabroek News
January 19, 2003

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Guyana ranks number five in the world on the Water Poverty Index in terms of household welfare and water availability, said Minister of Housing and Water Shaik Baksh. He was speaking at a press briefing last Saturday at the Guyana Television Broadcasting Company, Homestretch Avenue.

Guyana comes fifth after Finland, Canada, Iceland and Norway in that order. The countries immediately following Guyana are Suriname, Austria, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. Baksh noted Guyana's ranking in relation to the work done over the years by his ministry to effect water management.

The Water Poverty Index (WPI) graded 147 countries according to five measures - resources, access, capacity, use and environmental impact - to show where the best and worst water situations existed. Research team leader of the WPI, Caroline Sullivan, said that the index demonstrated that it was not the quantity of water resources available that determined poverty levels in a country, but how effectively a country used those resources.

Baksh told members of the media that his ministry had made significant steps in 2002 with the implementation of the Water and Sewerage Act, the establishment of a single utility in form of Guyana Water Inc and the awarding of management contracts.

Major water plants had been completed in Rose Hall, while those in Eccles, Bartica and LBI were in progress and were scheduled for completion within the first half of 2003.

A total of 36 projects had been completed in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten. There had been no hinterland water project because of lack of funding, the Minister said. However, he indicated that this should get off the ground this year. That project has a DFID funding of $121.2M.

Also slated to be executed this year is the Linden Water Project which has funding of $1M euros. This will rehabilitate the Linden water supply.

The GOG-IDB Water Programme II for Georgetown is a US$30M project which was delayed due to the modernisation programme. The Minister said that no objection to disbursement of the loan had been received from IDB and projects had already been tendered out.

This year the ministry hopes to construct two iron-removal facilities at Central Ruimveldt and Sophia at a cost of $119M, pipe network rehabilitation at a cost of $517.1M and rehabilitation of sewage pump station at a cost of $36.5M.

In addition, the ministry, together with the Guyana Water Inc, will examine tariff adjustments to cover operation and management costs; seek to improve billing and collections systems; and develop a system to provide full or partial tariffs to pensioners and other needy groups.

The minister said that about 70% of the water produced was wasted not only because of wastage by consumers, but also by bad pipes in the distribution system. Baksh said that it was hoped that water loss would be cut down to about 25 per cent.

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