Guyana will improve water and sanitation sector

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

Much like the Water and Sanitation Upgrade (WSSU) System in Barbados, Guyana will improve its water and sanitation sector with a view to improving access to drinking water and sanitation services through a loan from the IADB bank to the tune of approximately US $17 million.

Water and sanitation and access to safe potable water and a reliable working wastewater and sanitation service is critical to public health and Guyana has had its challenges (particularly when it floods) and also in the hinterlands. However, the Guyana Water Inc. is hoping to address these issues.

This new project is intended to upgrade and expand access to safe potable water through the Guyana Water Incorporated and to upgrade infrastructure in the South American country. The Project will also include an extensive public awareness campaign on water and sanitation practices as well as monitor non-revenue water.

According to reports in the press, water and sewage services in Georgetown and other coastal areas continue to face institutional, financial and operational challenges. The GWI still has problems with Non-Revenue Water (unaccounted for water or water that does not bring in revenue) as well as issues with its distribution and sanitation. Interestingly the sewerage system only covers a mere 6.5% of the population of Georgetown.

When this writer visited Guyana, some of the issues discussed at a wastewater conference for the media hosted by GEF/CREW-UNEP included the fact that some Guyanese were still drinking from springs and rivers which were contaminated and that harvesting of water needed to be practised and decontaminated in areas which were far from the distribution system.

The networks have deteriorated over the years but the GWI is confident that through the IDB programme, households will have 24 hr. access to safe potable water with access to reliable sanitation services in line with international standards. The vast nature of the landscape creates issues for the entire population of Guyana but the officials hope to address these issues head-on with the IDB funded project.

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