Water now safe -GWI
Stabroek News
April 2, 2007

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The Guyana Water Inc (GWI) says that the water from the Shelter Belt is now safe for consumption and that pressure has returned to normal, ending almost two weeks of water woes that hit the city in the midst of the Cricket World Cup.

The company in a press release yesterday said that laboratory tests conducted by GWI's Scientific Services Department have revealed that the water currently being distributed from the Shelter Belt is safe for consumption.

Near normal pressure returned about four days ago with the warning that the water was not yet safe for drinking, only for flushing of toilets.

According to the company's Scientific Services Manager Savitri Jetoo, monitoring of the water leaving the treatment plant yesterday has revealed that there is an adequate amount of chlorine to destroy any bacteria which may be present in the water. She said that several distribution points were tested and revealed a chlorine residual of .2 PPM (parts per million).

She further stated that following last week's difficulties at the plant, every measure was taken to ensure that the water returned to a state which would make it safe for consumption. At a press conference yesterday, the company said that tests from its Kingston-based laboratory yesterday morning revealed that the turbidity of the water entering from the Lamaha Canal has reduced from 300 NTU (Nephelometric Turbi-dity Units) to 56 NTUs. The company said that with the addition of lime and alum, the amount of suspended solids within the water being distributed from the plant has dropped to 8 NTUs, enabling the water to be successfully treated.

"Microbiological tests have also revealed that the water contains no faecal coliform bacteria," GWI said. Jetoo gave the assurance that the Scientific Services Department will continue to monitor all water entering and leaving the treatment plant.

Speaking at the press conference, GWI Executive Director of Operations Yuri Chandisingh said that normal pressure has been restored and water will be delivered from 4.30 am to midnight on a daily basis.

He said that any lack of pressure most likely will be the result of vandalising of the company's pipelines.

The Municipal Abattoir was one of the public services badly affected by the lack of water. Persons there said that the little water that was there had to be carefully rationed. When this newspaper visited the abattoir yesterday a staff member said that the water was coming as it did normally.

This newspaper also visited Hack's Halaal Restaurant, whose Manager Siddiq Hack said that the water was coming but at the time he didn't know that it was safe for consumption. His business had been badly affected last week at the height of the water woes when his customers couldn't wash their hands or the toilets didn't have running water during peak hours.

Meanwhile, GWI Managing Director Sizwe Jackson said that the company is working on strengthening relations with the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) in a bid to avoid a recurrence of the difficulties faced last week. He also apologised to the affected customers for the water woes.

Cleaning of the EDWC, compounded by sudden rains, was blamed for the murkiness of the Lamaha Canal. GWI and the EDWC have differed over who should take the blame for the crisis.