Some 3,500 residents of Wakenaam, an island in the Essequibo River, can expect better water quality in the near future as the government moves to begin construction of a new water treatment plant, President Dr. Irfaan Ali announced.
Speaking at an event on the island on Monday, Dr. Ali assured those residents that the island will not be left out of national development plans.
Because clean water is a fundamental human need, he said the government will establish a treatment plant on the island. This plant will cater specifically to the needs of the residents there.
“This improved water service and quality would not only go to some homes but it will go to every home,” the Head of State said.
The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) noted that this treatment plant should cost about US$6.3 million (or GY$1.3 billion). And the President said that the contract for this project will be awarded within the next year.
This plant is expected to purify tap water on the island, removing the high iron content.
The President’s announcement came as he commissioned a $50 million well at the Noitgedacht village on the island. With this well, the residents will have access to water for 24 hours instead of the usual three hours per day.
GWI Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shaik Baksh said the well has an enviable capacity, enabling it to produce about 200 per cent more water than is needed on the island.
The government plans to establish more wells and treatment plants across the country to improve supply and distribution.
By 2025, all people residing on the coast must have full access to potable, treated water, while all people in hinterland and riverain communities should be able to access water.
Currently, only about 60 per cent of people residing in hinterland and riverain communities have access to a consistent supply of water.
Meanwhile, President Ali mentioned that these investments at Wakenaam is part of a wider plan to push economic development on the island while simultaneously improving people’s lives.
Major sea defence and road works are planned for the island in the coming months.