GWI must prevail

Dear Editor,

I READ with dismay the conversation between Clement Rohee and the Guyana Water Inc Chief Executive Officer, in one of your most recent editions, where it is alleged that the latter is not qualified to handle the problem of water lost via water leaks and theft of water.

The premise that Clement Rohee used to evaluate the CEO’s capability to manage the water utility in my mind is a clear indication of his limited knowledge about what it takes to efficiently manage a water utility. It is not the CEO’s responsibility to manage water leaks and theft of water. It is his job to eliminate these issues. On the other hand, if these undesirables exist and I know they do, then Rohee should give the new CEO reasonable time to rid the organisation of these two monsters that were groomed by the previous administration.

I am aware that the problems at GWI are complex and compounded. However, at this time I just want to share my thoughts on water leaks and water theft. If we are losing water because of leaks and theft, then we have enough information to do something about it. Similarly, if we are losing water to unknown sources, technologies and methodologies are available to assist us in arriving at a definitive position. Therefore, the unanswered questions are: are we aware that water is being stolen, but we are unable to do anything about it? Are we aware that leaks exist in the supply system, but we are unable to do anything about it? And are we aware that we are losing water, but are handicapped by the fact that the source is unknown?

If the answer to question (1) is positive, then the problem is a moral one. Similarly, if the answer to question (2) is positive, then it’s a problem of competence. A positive response to question (3) is a reflection of inadequate human resource development. These are the problems that the CEO must exert energies in order to enhance the overall efficiency of the utility.

The GWI must prevail, but radical changes must take place. These include, but are not limited to the following: initiating legal action against persons found stealing water from the GWI system or tampering with same. It is therefore imperative that every employee becomes aware of the related Act. Revision of the GWI Act is more than necessary.

Award pipe-laying and service-connection installation contracts only to capable persons/organisations; intensify monitoring of pressure testing of new installations. Contractor education is therefore necessary and random rotation of Clerk of Works; ensure that pipes and fittings conform to technical specifications and standard practices relating to prolonged storage before use; implementation of a meter-testing programme to determine accuracy and setting measurable performance targets for engineers which must include non-revenue water not exceeding 7-10 percent.
GWI must prevail. Negative comments will not help.

Hector Lambert
Former GWI Divisional Manager

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