Guyana will boost access to drinking water and sanitation services with a US$16,838,250 ($3.5b) loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a release from the bank said yesterday.
The IDB noted that despite progress more than 70 per cent of water in Georgetown is unaccounted for.
Further, the sewerage system covers just 6.5% of the national population.
The initiative is known as the Program to Improve Water and Sanitation In-frastructure and Supply.
It will build, upgrade and expand water treatment plants and improve access to adequate sanitation through measures to strengthen the supplier, Guyana Water Incorporat-ed (GWI), the design and implementation of a programme to monitor non-registered water and a public awareness campaign.
“Despite progress over the past decade in access to safe sources of water and sanitation, water and sewage services in George-town and other coastal areas still face constant institutional, financial and operational challenges.
For instance, the quality of water supply services is hindered by a deterioration in water distribution networks, with 50 percent to 70 percent of water used going unaccounted for at the national level (and more than 70 percent in Georgetown).
Furthermore, the current (sewerage) system covers just 48,000 people living in Georgetown—about 6.5% of the national population. The rest of the population seeks individual solutions, but in some cases these arrangements are not adequate”, the IDB release said.
The programme is expected to up the percentage of households with 24-hour access to water and water pressure which is in line with national standards, reduce the amount of water that goes unaccounted for and raise the number of homes with improved access to drinking water and proper sanitation.
The release said that the IDB loan is for 30 years and comes from its Ordinary Capital and Fund for Special Operations.
It comes with a grace period of five years and a fixed interest rate (and a rate of 0.25 percent rate in the case for the funds of the Fund for Special Opera-tions).
The programme also includes a contribution of US$14,838,250 from the European Union Caribbean Investment Fund.