Workshop discusses hinterland water strategy

Stabroek News

September 8, 2003

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A draft hinterland report was the subject of discussion at the opening of a consultation workshop on the hinterland water strategy development.

Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) is in the process of developing a new strategy to address the needs of the people in the hinterland. The draft report provides a detailed analysis of the context, issues and approaches required.

A document circulated by GWI, states that according to the licence agreement, it has to ensure that safe water is supplied to 80% of all settlements in the hinterland, through sustainable and cost effective locally appropriate means, by no later than 2007.

Participants in the workshop held earlier this week were drawn from international organisations, funding agencies, the Ministry of Health, Regional Democratic Councils, the Environmental Protection Agency and Amerindian associations among others.

Delivering the opening address, Minister of Housing and Water, Shaik Baksh told the participants that co-operation was needed from the regional and neighborhood democratic councils for the programme to work.

He pointed out that there were gaps in the GWI report and urged the participants to arrive at a consensus during their deliberations.

He noted that it was unrealistic to expect significant cost recovery as the vast majority of hinterland residents were too poor. But he said government would be able to offer some kind of subsidy system with communities also contributing.

Baksh said while the problem was not about funding, there were still problems at the management level and also a lack of building partnerships. He added there was a lack of communication between GWI and persons living in the hinterland regions.

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