Water flows again at Non Pariel

Stabroek News
October 26, 2003

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Residents of Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara are now receiving water at the standpipe level. Guyana Water Inc (GWI) has completed the installation of a pipeline linking the village’s water network to the Coldingen pump station.

A few weeks ago residents protested on the streets of their village after having not received water for several months. They were angered at being billed for water they did not receive. They had claimed that GWI had installed pipe-lines in the village but they had never received water through them.

Following their protest, Leader of the Justice For All Party, CN Sharma, visited the village and residents took to the streets again calling on the Minister of Housing and Water to visit the area.

GWI responded the same week, announcing that it had identified a special emergency pipe-laying project to bring relief to the residents.

In a press release, GWI said that it would install 300 metres of pipeline linking the Coldingen pump station to the Enterprise pipeline distribution network, which feeds the Non Pariel area using a local contractor.

Speaking to this newspaper last week, Assistant Public Relations Officer of GWI, Javin Singh, said the project was completed on October 16 and since then residents have been receiving water. He said too that the water level was around four feet, which was above standpipe level.

Singh said these minor works were expected to bring relief to the residents until the LBI Water Supply Rehabilitation project was completed. The LBI project will benefit some 65,000 persons living between Industry and Strathspey.

Additionally, Singh said, the problem that had faced Non Pariel was also evident in other areas, notably Foulis. Remedial works have begun on the Foulis system and are to be completed soon. He also mentioned that because of the malfunctioning of the Mon Repos water plant the village was not receiving water. The plant, according to Singh, had been out of order for some time now and until it was fixed certain areas on the East Coast would continue to experience difficulties receiving water.

Meanwhile, Singh said GWI was still reducing water pumping hours in a bid to cut costs. He said the company had reviewed the campaign and decided that in areas where there was a greater demand the pumping hours would not be altered. He pointed out that certain parts of the East Coast along with other far-flung areas were using less water and as such the reduction in the pumping hours had not affected them as much as it had affected residents in the city.

Asked whether the reduction in pumping hours had impacted on its electricity bills, Singh said GWI was still paying close to $100 million per month. He told this newspaper that the two utilities had worked out a payment plan, which was already in effect. Despite this, Guyana Power and Light (GPL) had disconnected GWI’s main office electricity about a month ago. Power has not yet been restored to the building and GWI uses its own generator.

Stabroek News understands that GWI is still in arrears to GPL and from all indications would remain so for a very long time unless the government assisted in that regard. The utility is also indebted to suppliers for chemicals.

Singh said the company was working assiduously to improve its billing system, which was in chaos prior to the new management taking over. He said two months ago when the company had announced its water disconnection campaign many persons had actually gone to the offices to pay their bills. Now that the campaign was not as intense they had stopped.