Conserve water!
GWI urges consumers
Stabroek News
February 27, 2003

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Guyana Water Incorporated yesterday warned that distribution of water in the city could be severely limited, if the current dry weather were to persist.

Residents receive around nine hours of water supply and GWI says they should start conserving now.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, GWI's Public Relations Officer Audreyanna Thomas said the continuing dry weather had caused a drop in the level of the surface water supply.

Chief Operations Director of GWI Andrew Barber explained that the water normally came into the Georgetown system through the conservancy. He said this water is also used for agricultural purposes. From the conservancy the water is channelled down the Lamaha Canal and then into GWI's system at Shelter Belt where it is extracted into the treatment works.

Barber said the Lamaha canal supplies about one third of the population and the remainder of the city is fed through a number of wells which are located in and around the city.

He said GWI relies heavily on the rainfall in November and December to raise the conservancy level to provide an adequate supply through to the next rainy season in May and June.

He said late last year the rainfall had been lower than normal. Barber also said that at Vlissengen Road GWI had seven wells but only two were working and the company was looking to get at least five operational.

But he cautioned that high electricity costs coupled with poor revenue collection would severely hamper any progress in that regard.

Last year GWI had operational costs of over $2B but only managed to collect $1B in revenue.

Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon at his weekly post cabinet press briefing had said that Minister of Water Shaik Baksh had raised the concern of the low water level at the cabinet meeting. Luncheon told the media that Baksh explored with the cabinet the financial obligation of the water sector and provided some data on the sector's planned financial obligations for this year. Luncheon also noted that the water company expended a lot of money last year on electricity charges and if there was a rise in electricity costs for this year the water tariff was likely to rise also.

Barber urged residents to treat water as a precious resource since the situation could get worse.

The East Demerara Conservancy is about 200 square miles and it runs along the back of the East Coast sugar estates.

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