GWI Executive warns…
Water not safe to drink, even if boiled
Kaieteur News
March 31, 2007

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As the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) continues its efforts to restore quality water to its customers the company has decided to recommence its intake of water from the discoloured Lamaha Canal.

However, Executive Director of Operations, Yuri Chandisingh at a press briefing yesterday said that the water under no circumstances must be utilised for drinking purposes.

“We will not at this stage advise customers that the water will be safe once it is boiled; we want to make that clear. It is not to be used even if it is boiled, that is the company's position. This is not a boil advisory this is a non-use for human consumption advisory,” Chandisingh warned.

He informed that the current situation at the Shelter Belt is that the condition of the Lamaha Canal has not yet improved to a point where the GWI can deliver potable water to the city.

But it was in light of the current crisis and high demand for water that the company decided to utilise the water from the canal.

“We have heightened treatment and we will deliver water at higher pressure but until the canal is cleared we cannot treat the water as potable,” the executive reiterated.

The water he noted can be used for domestic purposes such as flushing toilets and can even be used for bathing once it does not get into the digestive system.

According to the company's Scientific Services Manager Savitri Jettoo, the turbidity or sediment level of the water continues to be very high and sustained efforts are being made to treat the plant.

But given the limitations of the company she revealed that the condition of the water could appear to be worse but customers could have clearer water if they allow it to settle in a container.

She explained that as treatment continues the bad water is being pumped out which will eventually result in the quality improving.

According to Jettoo no prediction can be made as to when this situation is likely to normalise.

“We are asking that people would bear with us…We are making every effort to get the water back to an acceptable quality.”

She lamented the fact that the situation had its origin in the failure of the Agriculture Ministry to notify the company of dredging works they had embarked.

Yesterday morning the GWI commenced pumping water to its customers from around 04:30 until about 08:30 hours before applying higher pressure around 09:00 hours.

According to Chandisingh once the Drainage and Irrigation Board commissions one of its pumps, interventions will be increased to flush out the bad section of the canal.

He also noted that the company will commence pumping today at 04:30 hours until around midnight with the pressure varying throughout the day.

He also stressed that parents should ensure that their children do not consume water from stand pipes or through any other means from which the company will supply water.

And while GWI admits that there is a water crisis no measure has been effected to provide customers with potable water since according to Chandisingh “GWI does not have any of its own tankers at this point in time and we simply cannot afford to hire water tenders to go serve the areas.”