-Minister Rodrigues announces at World Water Day walkathon
WHILE urging Guyanese to adopt water conservation practices, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, on Sunday, said that government is working to ensure that 90 per cent of the population has access to treated water by 2025.
She was at the time speaking at a walkathon hosted by Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) in recognition of World Water Day 2023.
GWI’s Chief Executive Officer, Shaik Baksh; Board Member, Dharamkumar Seeraj; UNICEF Guyana and Suriname Deputy Representative, Irfan Akhtar and representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Hydrometeorological Service were among those who participated in the exercise which began at the seawall roundabout and ended at GWI’s Vlissengen Road office.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister Rodrigues, during brief remarks, emphasised that water was rapidly becoming one of the world’s scarcest resources. She urged citizens to conserve and practise better water management.
“Here in Guyana, we have the privilege of having access to water, 97 per cent…A lot of countries in the world still do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. So, we have to think about what is going on globally to really appreciate our situation locally,” she was quoted as saying.
The minister stated that while the government has been working to ensure universal access to water, its priority has now shifted towards ensuring access to treated water that meets the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of 0.3 milligrams per litre or less of iron content.
“Our goal is to ensure that 90 per cent of our population receives treated water by 2025,” the minister said.
This achievement would be five years ahead of the year that was set for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, one of which speaks about ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
The goals numbering 17 were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
DPI said that to achieve the ambitious 2025 goal, the Government of Guyana was investing in the construction of 13 new treatment plants across the country to ensure citizens have access to treated water. Additionally, existing water treatment plants were also being upgraded.
In his comments, Baksh said the water company was committed to providing safe water and sanitation to all Guyanese by 2030, with the government investing billions of dollars annually in the sector.
He also highlighted that GWI has achieved 97 per cent access to water and is actively working towards achieving 100 per cent access by the year 2025.
Meanwhile, the UNICEF representative stated that the organisation was delighted to collaborate with GWI to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the hinterland.
More than 2.2 billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water, leading to the spread of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, which is particularly deadly for children, the DPI said.
Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of fresh water and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.
This year, the focus of World Water Day is on ‘accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis.’
Several prizes were awarded to those who participated in the walkathon.