Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali says although 98% of the coastland population enjoys access to water, Guyana is also known as a country that wastes this natural resource and there is urgent need to change this practice as water needs increase globally.
In his address to mark World Water Day 2012, Ali said there is need for a change in the view and understanding that while water is a basic human right, extracting and delivering water for human consumption is costly. He was speaking to a group of about 50 high school students from the East Coast, East Bank and the city at the Guyana Water Incorporated’s Shelter Belt location.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release, the minister noted that while the cost of delivery of water to consumers is subsidised by as much as 70%, “it may encourage wastage of water.” He noted that the price of the commodity does not compare with its value.
The United Nations’ prediction of a global population increase to nine billion by 2050 will increase the quantity of water that would be needed for agriculture in order to meet new demands for food. Ali said while targets have been met, hinterland communities are still challenged as food is produced under very strenuous conditions due to extended dry seasons and the creeks are the only source of water. “Thus there has to be a balance of what is used for agriculture and what is used for human consumption,” he said.
In his address, Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy noted that the construction of the Tapacuma waterway, the Boerasirie Conservancy and the Torani canal to channel water from the Berbice River to the Canje River; the establishment of the Dawa pump to irrigate the Essequibo coast; and the use of the Manarabisi pumps and the Mibicuri pumps to move water from the Canje River to farms in Region Six are all modern measures that have been taken to provide water where needed.