$60M water-testing laboratory for August commissioning

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Chief Hydromet Officer (ag), Dr. Garvin Cummings

A $60M state-of-the art water quality laboratory will be commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture’s ‘Hydromet’ Department in August.

Once functional, the new facility, which is located in the ‘Hydromet’ Department’s Brickdam office, will boost the capacity to effectively retrieve and process information vital to assessing the quality of the country’s water resources.

Chief Hydromet Officer (ag), Dr. Garvin Cummings, has stated that the laboratory, once operationalised, would further enable the Hydrometeorology Service to accomplish extensive duties as it relates to water resource management.

“This laboratory is a very important and significant addition to the hydrological monitoring framework within the Service. It adds to the existing resources that the Service has for the monitoring of water quantity, and places the ‘Hydromet’ Department in a position to undertake its broader responsibilities for water resources management in Guyana,” Dr. Cummings said.

Minister within the Agriculture Ministry, Valerie Patterson-Yearwood

The project, which began in 2018, seeks to fulfil the purpose of the Hydromet Service’s mandate to establish national monitoring systems for water resources under the Water and Sewerage Act of 2002.

Among the services to be performed, the Hydromet Department would possess the ability to facilitate the testing of water samples gathered from both ground and surface water sources to determine their quality.

In addition to establishing a database for Guyana’s baseline national water quality, Dr Cummings noted, such a database would support and inform environmental protection, infrastructural development and agriculture.

Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Valerie Patterson-Yearwood, in an invited comment, said the laboratory will serve the agricultural sector well.

“Essentially, water quality testing ensures that water is safe and meets local and international standards. This facility will offer internationally-recognised testing procedures through detailed water sampling techniques and other technology to ensure water is safe for the purposes intended,” Minister Patterson-Yearwood said.

She added that the introduction of such a facility creates an enabling environment for youths and persons interested in water quality testing. The Minister will soon embark on a tour of the facility ahead of its commissioning.

The facility will also allow the Hydromet Department to issue early-detection bulletins for water-borne diseases; provide insight into the effects of water patterns on water quality, and influence future policies in relation to the management of the country’s water resources.