Mara residents see return of potable water
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Minister of Public Affairs, Ms Dawn Hastings-Williams turns on the standpipe at Schepmoed Primary School signalling the re-commissioning of the Mara Water Supply Project on Thursday. Looking on at right and second right respectively are GWI’s Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, and Region Six’s Mr Jawaharalall Ramjug (Photo by Michel Outridge)
Minister of Public Affairs, Ms Dawn Hastings-Williams turns on the standpipe at Schepmoed Primary School signalling the re-commissioning of the Mara Water Supply Project on Thursday. Looking on at right and second right respectively are GWI’s Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, and Region Six’s Mr Jawaharalall Ramjug (Photo by Michel Outridge)

–after four-year hiatus

THE taps are again running at Mara and its environs on the East Bank Berbice following the re-commissioning of the community’s water supply system which had been out of service now going on four years.

The system was recommissioned by Minister of Public Affairs, Ms Dawn Hastings-Williams, with the help of Managing Director of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Dr. Richard Van West-Charles.

The project, which cost the government some $5M to implement, saw the reinstallation of solar panels on the roof of the Schepmoed Primary School, after the set that had been there before were either stolen or vandalised.

As Minister Hastings-Williams observed,
coming as she does from a working-class background, she knows better than most the importance of having water to attend to everyday chores, and urged residents to try to conserve the commodity as much as they can.

She also encouraged villagers to be vigilant in safeguarding the solar panels which were newly installed, since theft and vandalism is what caused them to be without water for four years.

She said the government is also looking in the near future at providing potable water to other East Bank Berbice villages such as Highbury and Light Town, and asked that residents in those communities bear with them.

She made the latter disclosure after a handful of angry residents from the said villages took to the main road and blocked it off with black water tanks and refused to give way to all vehicular traffic on Thursday until they’d spoken to the minister, because, like Mara, they, too, need potable water.

Dr. Van West-Charles assured the gathering of primarily Mara residents that while the water company is unwavering in its committment to provide potable water throughout Guyana, it’s a process that will take some time.

Testimony to this committment, he said, is the many upgrades that have been done over time in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), from Moleson Creek to New Amsterdam.

He said that in the last year alone, the GWI has upgraded and expanded the water system in New Amsterdam, whereby residents are now benefitting from a 24-hour service of treated water.

In the case of Mara, Dr. West-Charles said that before the solar panels were stolen and vandalised, residents there used to get three hours of water supply per day. But now, with the re-commissioning of the system, they will be gettting water six hours a day, and in another few weeks, after the company will have sourced the requisite batteries, the supply will be round-the-clock.

He said the company is moving gradually to have all communities benefit from a 24-hour service in keeping with its stated mandate of providing quality water to all.

He promised that before the first quarter of the new year, the residents of Highbury and Light Town will be able to access potable water, but that in the meantime, the commodity will be trucked in to them on a daily basis.

Also making remarks was APNU Region Six Chairman Kirk Fraser and residents, who expressed thanks to GWI and the government for providing potable water supply to their village.

They said they used to store rain water for cooking purposes and utilised the river water for other domestic chores and is very pleased they have access to quality water.

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