Water shortage continues in city
• E ngineers work round-the-clock on damaged electrical component

Kaieteur News
March 21, 2007

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Engineers were yesterday evening still working to repair a damaged electrical component that has affected operations at the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Shelter Belt and has led to a shortage of potable water in the city.

GWI spokesman, Timothy Austin, said that engineers from the GWI and Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL) had hoped to rectify the problem by last evening, but this had not happened.

“We are working through the night to get it fixed. We are working as hard as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, GWI has been using its back-up generator to pump water at very low pressure to central Georgetown .

In addition, GWI has been supplying some city hospitals and other institutions that depend heavily on its operation with tanks of potable water.

“We are supplying Woodlands Hospital with (tanks of) water and we are trying to do the same for other hospitals and restaurants,” Austin told Kaieteur News.

Woodlands Hospital Administrator, Harold Dass, said that the shortage of potable water had severely disrupted work at the Carmichael Street institution.

He confirmed that GWI had supplied the hospital with tanks of potable water. The water pumped from the Shelter Belt was discoloured, and could only be used for washing clothing and hospital linen.

Dass revealed that Woodlands Hospital officials resorted to buying tanks of water at about $3,000 per tank.

“We bought six black tanks of water…and we will need 10 to 12 black tanks to supply the hospital up to (Wednesday) morning.”

He explained that fresh water was needed for the operating theatre, laboratory, kitchen, and for patients.

However, Administrator at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Michael Khan, said that operations at the hospital were not disrupted, since a water tender from the Guyana Fire Service supplied the institution.

“We also got some big black tanks (of water) and we are pumping the water into the main reservoir,” he said.

Residents in central Georgetown began experiencing low water pressure, and in some cases, no water at all, from around 18:00 hrs on Monday after a GPL power failure damaged a component near the Shelter Belt.

A GPL release, issued yesterday, explained that damage had been done to a GPL ‘pothead'—a vital component that takes power into the Shelter Belt compound.

“GWI engineers notified their counterparts at GPL yesterday (Monday) of problems with their power supply.

GPL's electro-mechanical engineers responded promptly and identified the source of the problem as the ‘pothead', which needed intricate work to reseal the protective covering to keep out the elements,” the release said.

“Engineering staff from both entities have indeed been collaborating on this development, a collaboration that involved the start up of the Shelter Belt's standby generator, which is also the normal procedure,” it added.

According to the release, GPL's engineers have since sourced the necessary components to repair the ‘pothead'. They have commenced repairs.

A GWI release that was issued on Monday stated that consumers who are served by the Turkeyen well, including the University of Guyana , are also being affected by the malfunction.