Water wastage costs $20M per month
--- Inspectors deployed to plug leakages
Guyana Chronicle
September 4, 2003

Related Links: Articles on water
Letters Menu Archival Menu

GUYANESE waste about one-third of the water that flows through their pipelines, with running taps in Georgetown alone accounting for some $20 million worth of water wastage each month.

The discovery by Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has led to the corporation deploying inspectors in the city and on the east coast and east bank of Demerara, in a campaign designed to identify and plug the leakages and encourage consumers to check the wastage.

GWI Managing Director Dereck Hodson and Public Relations Officer Audreyanna Thomas announced the campaign at a news briefing at the corporation's head office yesterday.

"It's important not only that the level of consumer awareness be raised, but also that consumers be encouraged to adapt to a culture of efficient water consumption," Mr. Hodson told reporters. "The wastage of water generates a number of problems: it adds to the cost of production, affects or altogether prevents the flow of water to other consumers, and requires capital investments that could be utilized in other areas of service delivery."

GWI supplies water to approximately 30,000 consumers in Georgetown, 20,000 on the East Coast of Demerara, 15,000 on the East Bank of Demerara, and 130,000 countrywide.

In Georgetown, where wastage is said to be "especially" significant, GWI pumped about 23 million gallons of water a day to its consumers - until a payment crunch made Guyana Power and Light Inc. threaten to stop supplying its pumping stations with electricity.

Ms. Thomas said yesterday a revision of GWI policy meant that supplies have been reduced by 25 percent - a move Mr. Hodson hopes will trigger a speedy, yet sustained reduction of water wastage.

To date, only about 70 percent of users pay their bills. In some areas the cost recovery figure is as high as 90 percent, but payments in Linden lag at just 12 percent.

As part of its programme to stem the wastage, GWI is intensifying its metering of consumers.

Mr. Hodson said GWI anticipates installing meters to every consumer's water line over five years.

This, Ms. Thomas added, includes metering connections in every new housing scheme.

The inspection campaign is ongoing, and will spread across the country in due course.

On discovering unnecessarily running taps, defective plumbing, leaking service connections, meter tampering or overflowing or dripping storage tanks, the inspectors are authorized to serve the defaulting consumers a five-day "offense" notice.

If after five days the problems persist, the inspectors will disconnect. "We hope we will get the desired cooperation from consumers," said Mr. Hodson yesterday.