City hit by water woes By Johann Earle
Stabroek News
March 28, 2007

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Large parts of the city struggled for water one day before World Cup Cricket yesterday but the water utility said that normal pressure should be restored today and that persons here for the games should not be affected since the company had advised hotels and B&Bs to install overhead tanks.

Central Georgetown customers were up to yesterday receiving water from 4.30 am to 9 am, 11.00 to 12 noon and from 5 pm to 9 pm. But GWI said that the situation shouldn't affect the water available to the Guyana National Stadium at Providence. The company said that the stadium would be getting its water from wells located on the East Bank.

A resident of Campbellville said that the water at her home went off at around 8.30 am yesterday and didn't come on until around 12.45 pm. A check at the home revealed that the water came on back at 5 pm and was on at least up until 6 pm. Another man from the same part of the city said that he was not receiving any water whatsoever yesterday and on the days before.

Businesses in the city were also affected and one eatery said that they did not receive water and it was affecting their service to customers, many of them here for the games.

But the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) said that normal water pressure should be restored sometime today, once consumption demands remain the same. It also lamented a report in yesterday's Kaieteur News which said that the city's water supply had been contaminated and said that this wasn't the case.

The company pointed out that before the games it had advised bed and breakfast (B&Bs) facilities and hotels of the need to install overhead water tanks in case of breaks in the supply of water. The company said too that persons living farther away from the water treatment sites would be more seriously affected.

For now the company is restricting its water delivery to the city because of lower volumes of water being available. This is due to maintenance works at the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) which caused sediment to be discharged into the Lamaha Canal.

The company said also that it is not certain if normal pressure would be restored today since tests were still being carried out to see whether it is possible to rely on the Lamaha Canal for water.

Speaking at a press conference at the company's head office yesterday, Executive Direc-tor of Operations at GWI Yuri Chandisingh said that during Monday morning the company found that the water intake from the East Demerara Water Conservancy contained sediment. According to Chandisingh, the high discolouration resulted from suspended solids and because of that the company is relying on three wells in the Shelter Belt compound.

Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud yesterday said that he was aware of the concerns and added that the rains were to blame for the suspended solids in the Lamaha Canal water from the EDWC. He said that maintenance works in the Conservancy had commenced during the dry season and the rain that fell over the past few days was not envisaged. He confirmed that the works have ceased at the Conservancy until a more opportune time.