$450M fresh water treatment plant commissioned at Bartica By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
April 16, 2004

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BARTICIANS are now benefiting from significantly improved potable water supply following the commissioning of a $450 million state-of-the-art pumping facility in the community yesterday.

The modern pump station caters for water treatment as well as storage and pumping, and has a computerized monitoring system that can detect any defects that may develop at any stage of the water treatment process. The facility also boasts a standby generator in the event of a power failure.

Some 350 households or about 1,500 persons who for many years suffered an extremely poor potable water supply are now benefiting from the improved service.

President Bharrat Jagdeo, who commissioned the facility, told Barticians they had an obligation to use potable water wisely both because water was a precious source of life and because it cost and is costing millions of dollars to purify and transmit it to consumers.

Metering will be introduced from this July. President Jagdeo said this should not be seen as a punitive measure geared at Barticians but as a means of recovering part of the cost of providing fresh drinking water to Bartica households 24 hours each day.

The President conceded that one could not reasonably expect people to pay fore service that wasn't reliable, and so he urged the management and employees of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) to ensure that the facility is properly maintained, so that residents would continuously receive quality service.

He also called for a partnership between the residents and GWI, noting that both sides have their respective responsibilities to maintain a proper service. GWI personnel must "keep their ears close to the ground," he urged.

Minister of Housing and Water Shaik Baksh observed that the water plant at Bartica is testimony to Government's commitment to providing quality potable water supply to all parts of Guyana. Minister Baksh said the goal over the next five years is to provide high level of potable water supply to 95% of the Guyanese population.

Presently, he disclosed, over 100,000 households are benefiting from the coming on stream of new systems at La Bonne Intention (LBI) on the East Coast Demerara and Eccles on the East Bank Demerara.

Alluding to the 24-hour service at Bartica, Mr. Baksh said it is the vision of the Government to provide such a service throughout the country.

Government is allocating some $1.5 billion into the water sector this year through funding from the World Bank, the British Department For International Development (DFID) and the Government of Guyana.

The minister challenged GWI to ensure that those areas where the water supply service was unsatisfactory to move expeditiously to have the situation remedied.

Chairman of Region 7 (Mazaruni/Cuyuni), Gordon Bradford, expressed appreciation of the new facility and admonished Barticians who overuse water to stop the wastage