Over $844M budgeted for improved water supply nationwide
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Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues
Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues

–several wells to be drilled; GWI office for Lethem

By Navendra Seoraj
IN responding to claims from Opposition Parliamentarians that the government has no vision for development, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, affirmed that Guyanese could expect greater access to water, as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration has set aside over $844 million to increase the supply of this necessity nationwide.

The government plans to increase treated water coverage, reduce non-revenue water and modernise sanitation facilities across the country.

“Under our Hinterland Water Supply programme, the sum of $344 million has been allocated. Given the aggressive nature of the programme, I will make mention of some of the new projects slated for 2021,” Minister Rodrigues said during her presentation on day one of the 2021 budget debates.

In presenting a disaggregation of the proposed expenditure, the minister said $40 million was allocated for the procurement of a new rig and well drilling materials to facilitate new wells in 2021, while $20 million was allocated for the procurement of Photovoltaic (PV) systems, electromechanical equipment, pipes, fittings, spares and accessories for water supply systems.

Despite heckling from the opposing side of the House, Minister Rodrigues continued to outline the government’s plan, noting that $10 million was allocated for the construction of a pump station and activation of a new well in Port Kaituma, while $14 million was allocated for the drilling of new wells, the installation of PV, storage, distribution networks and service connections for the communities of Waramuri, Huradiah, Khans Hill, Wauna, Baramita, Arakaka and Matthew’s Ridge, in Region One (Barima-Waini).
Some $10 million has also been set aside for the drilling of wells, upgrading of PV systems, upgrade and extension of pipe networks and installation of stand pipes for the communities of Kwebanna and Manawarin, in Region One (Barima-Waini).

For Annai in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), $15 million has been budgeted for the upgrading of the distribution network, rehabilitation of elevated trestle, service connections and installation of PV system. Minister Rodrigues said $15 million was allocated too for the upgrading of the distribution network in St. Ignatius.

For the communities of Jawalla (Left Bank) and Kamarang/Warawatta, in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), the sum of $50 million has been allocated for the drilling of a well, installation of new storage trestle and distribution network.

“$78 million in total was allocated for the drilling of artesian wells, installation of distribution networks, upgrading of PV systems, construction of elevated storage trestles, and service connections for several communities in Region Nine,” Minister Rodrigues posited.

Lethem will also benefit from the construction of a Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) office there, for which an allocation of $15 million is set aside.

Also on the hinterland water supply programme, the sum of $50 million was allocated for the installation of a water supply system at Kaibarupai and Monkey Mountain in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni). Some $21 million has been allocated for the drilling of a new well, extension of pipe network and installation of service connections.

Development is also in line for the coast, as some $500 million has been allocated for the Coastal Water Supply Programme.

The sum of $75 million has been allocated for the procurement and installation of water meters, $40 million for the procurement of bulk meters at well sites and District Metered Areas (DMAs) and $75 million for the procurement and installation of meter boxes.
The budget also provides $104 million for the procurement of service connection materials for 5,200 new services.

Minister Rodrigues said wells will be drilled at Wakenaam and Parika Backdam, for which the budget has allocated a total sum of $100 million. The sum of $101 million was also allocated for the expansion of the water treatment plants at Sophia, Eccles, Covent Garden, Grove, Friendship and Vergenoegen, benefitting over 50,000 residents

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