GWI seeks US$9M from UN to upgrade hinterland water infrastructure

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The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has applied to the United Nations Green Climate Fund for US$9 million in funding to upgrade and improve critical water infrastructure in the hinterland regions.

This was revealed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GWI Shaik Baksh on Tuesday at the opening of the utility company’s exhibition to mark World Water Day 2022 at the tarmac of the National Culture Centre.

Baksh explained that the layout of the hinterland regions has prevented proper access to portable water and proper water infrastructure. Baksh noted that the application to the UN is in the final stages of approval.

GWI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shaik Baksh (Photo: Anil Seelall/ March 22, 2022)

“It is in progress. It is in the pipeline so we can build resilient infrastructure across the hinterland and especially in Region Nine. We need to have deeper wells in Region Nine.

“We are drilling wells now but in the future and with climate change, we will need to upgrade the infrastructure there,” he shared.

World Water Day 2022 is being observed under the theme “Groundwater: making the invisible visible.”

And the importance of groundwater was the focal point at the opening of the exhibition which features booths from various GWI departments as well as the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA); Hydromet Department of the Ministry of Agriculture; United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Natural aquifers beneath the earth’s surface hold millions of gallons of groundwater that can play a crucial role in helping to combat the global scourge that is climate change.

And though the true value of the earth’s groundwater is not yet known, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal told the gathering that ongoing research has proven that it could be a key element to survival.

“It is quite clear that groundwater is present in our country but we have to explore, analyze, and monitor or groundwater resources to better protect and manage them.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal (Photo: Anil Seelall/ March 22, 2022)

“This invisible but valuable resource can help to fill the gaps in the shortages we experience and as climate change worsens, groundwater will become more critical to our survival but like in many other countries in the world, we do not just know how much of this really exists and that is why it is very important that we learn about it as quickly as we can, so that we can protect it from pollution and over-exploitation,” he explained.

And for that to happen, the minister underscored that a serious commitment needs to be made to use water in a sustainable manner.

Croal noted that groundwater plays a central part in sustaining ecosystems and enabling human adaptation to climate variability and change.

Students being engaged by GWI employees at the exhibition (Photo: Anil Seelall/ March 22, 2022)

And the strategic importance of groundwater for global water and food security is set to intensify as more frequent and intense climate extremes (droughts and floods) increase variability in precipitation, soil moisture, and surface water.

This is why the minister stressed that action needs to be taken now to preserve it.

“So let us commit to protecting access the access we have to clean water by practicing sustainable ways use it, improving our sanitation habits, ensuring hygiene behavior changes, and reducing pressure on our water resources,” the Housing Minister urged.

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