The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) on Thursday launched its 15th anniversary celebrations with a promise to work towards ensuring all Guyanese, on the coast and interior regions, have equal access to quality water.
The launch took place at the company’s Head Office on Vlissengen Road and Church Street, under the theme ‘Ensuring Equity and Improving Quality.’
According to a statement issued by GWI, Minister within the Ministry of Communities Dawn Hastings-Williams said the theme can only be realised when all customers are recipients of the same level of service.
“When the quality service provided on the coastland [is] delivered in the same manner in the hinterland, only then can we definitely say that equity and quality [have] been achieved, but until then, we have a long way to go,” she was quoted as saying.
Towards this end, Minister Hastings-Williams called on GWI to recommit to its mission statement, which speaks to providing equal access to safe, adequate and affordable water and sewage systems to Guyanese living on the coastland and in the hinterland.
Managing Director of GWI Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, the statement said, assured customers that the company plans to boost its production level and improve water quality and overall services. He said GWI will be adopting the approach of establishing a series of well fields in communities, which will guard against dependency on one well for water supply per community. Well fields allow for other wells to serve as a back-up in a community if one fails.
Dr. Van West-Charles also spoke about the company’s investment in the knowledge and technical capabilities of its engineers to be able to drill wells. In this regard, he noted that a number of technical personnel are benefiting from overseas training in cutting-edge well drilling techniques, the statement added.
He also highlighted plans to ensure better tasting, safe drinking water. These include continuing the establishment of mini-laboratories that test the quality of water produced every hourly. He also underscored the importance of fairness and justice to the workforce and the customers, which will be a principal part of the company’s operations, the statement further said.
Executive Director of GWI’s Commercial Services and Customer Relations Marlon Daniels, who spoke of the progress made by the company, noted that within the past 18 months, under Dr. Van West-Charles’ stewardship, in excess of 100,000 residents have received service for the first time in all regions of Guyana. He said too that GWI also increased the hours of service at 85% of its facilities, and in so doing allowed for several areas to now benefit from 24 hours’ service. A new water treatment system was also rolled out at several pumping stations, resulting in over 30,000 customers receiving improved quality of water.
Daniels also highlighted that training was made available to all levels of staff, resulting in “common line workers” feeling like they have “a place at the table.” He also highlighted that Dr. Van West-Charles would have increased the stipend of the sanitation workers from a mere $5 to $1,500 per day.
GWI was established 15 years ago after the merger of the Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) and the Georgetown Sewerage and Water Commissioners (GS&WC).
GWI Board member, the statement said, noted that the strength of GS&WC was in the ability of Shelter Belt crews, including the repair shop, to keep the company functioning in hard financial times, while the strength of GUYWA was in its in-house ability to bore and service its own wells. “I would like… to compliment the present GWI management on attaining this decade and a half of service to our customers, and to further compliment them in their drive to upgrade in house skills, not only in the repair shop areas, but also in striving to recreate and upgrade our skills and lost abilities in well drilling and in other areas generally throughout the organisation,” he added.
GWI said a month of planned celebratory activities include school tours and exhibitions on May 9 at water treatment plants in the regions, an essay competition for children, ages 9 to 14 years, and radio and television programmes. Activities, including a prize giving ceremony, are also planned for staff.