Newly metered East Ruimveldt residents riled at poor water supply

By Zoisa Fraser

Residents of East Ruimveldt are upset over the quality and inadequate supply of water they have been receiving from the Guyana Water Incor-porated (GWI) over the last few weeks after being connected to a new network.

They said the water was flowing through their taps at a trickle, was cut off for hours on a daily basis and was smelly and discoloured.
Contacted, GWI acknowledged that there was a problem with the flow of water, which was being addressed but said it was unaware of any discolouration or odour.

When Stabroek News visited Market Street, Self Help Square, Pineapple Street, Trench Road, Back Circle and Mango Lane, in East Ruimveldt shortly before noon yesterday, only Self Help Square was being supplied with water.

Residents said they have, on numerous occasions, complained to the water company but nothing has been done to date, leaving them under pressure to find potable water for their daily needs; sometimes having to purchase.
Assistant Communications Officer at GWI, Telesha White, said work was ongoing to clear iron matter from residents’ meters as this was restricting the flow of water. She explained that the low pressure being experienced was being caused by a build up in the strainers, which are located in the meters. She said a team was in the area carrying out the works.

According to White, work was being done at the Shelter Belt Water Treatment Plant which feeds the East Ruimveldt area, to reduce the iron content in the water as well as to improve the supply of water to the residents. Asked if any reports had been received from residents in the area, White replied in the negative and added that she was not aware of any discolouration or odour of the water.

A resident living on New Market Street said it took between ten to 15 minutes to fill a three-gallon bucket, a problem she has been experiencing for the past three to four weeks.

She said GWI started laying the infrastructure in 2006 to facilitate a change over to a new network, which was to install water meters so that residents could be billed for the water they used.

The resident said the switch was made several weeks ago and it was then that her troubles began. Not only does she have to wake up early each morning to start filling water for the day, but her working children now have to go through the strain of finding water. She said that after they would have collected water for themselves, they then had to fill buckets and leave them for her to do her chores.

She said that when they were on the old network the water pressure was better and they had no reason to complain. The resident said that despite the terrible service, she had already received a bill for $1,700, which she said was unfair. “It ain’t right for us to pay that but what are you going to do. They will cut people off if they don’t pay. They spend a lot of money to put down this infrastructure so things should have been better,” the woman pointed out.

She added that sometimes the water that flowed though her tap could not be used since it was discoloured and smelly. The woman said she was afraid to even try boiling it adding that one could not attempt to cook with it. Because of this, the resident said, she was forced to find $480 to buy water.

Another resident in that street had a similar story to tell. Asking to remain anonymous the woman, described the situation she is faced with, as frustrating and disgusting.

“I ain’t getting no water. Just drip, drip.” She said that recently a worker from GWI was in the area blowing out meters in a bid to find the cause of the problem.

The woman said that every day, residents have been calling the water company for some assistance, but nothing was happening. She said it was unfair to have to buy water every day at the cost of $240 per bottle and called on the water company to immediately rectify the situation.
Over in Pineapple Street, a resident said that she now has to wake up her children much earlier because of the situation with the water. The resident said that in addition to the low water pressure, it cuts off at anytime, so they have to make use of it while it is available.

When Stabroek News visited, just before noon, the water in that street had already stopped. She, like those in Market Street, said the problems began three to four weeks ago when they were connected to the new network.

A resident of Back Circle said he has been experiencing problems with water since last year. Residents said that water would come at six in the morning for several hours before cutting off. It would then return late in the afternoon.

One resident in describing the quality of water said “sometimes you get coffee”.

Over at Mango Lane, a resident said the water trickles or cuts off for hours at a time. He added that was unfair to residents in the area to have to pay the high water bills sent by the water company. “I can’t pay their bill because I am not getting a good water supply,” he said adding that this has been happening over the last few weeks.

This newspaper noticed that water was gushing out of a tap in a yard at Self Help Square just after noon. A woman living there said that although the water pressure was sometimes high, the water cuts off for hours. She said when it cuts off in the morning, it does not return until late afternoon. She added that the water pressure was sometimes so low, her water tank could not be filled.

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