With the commissioning of a rehabilitated water supply system, an estimated 95% of the 340 residents of Yurong Paru, in Region Nine, have gained first time access to treated water that has met World Health Organization (WHO) standards, according to the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI).
For the residents, it also means that trekking long distances to access water is now a thing of the past, GWI said in a statement after the commissioning, which took place in the village last Thursday.
The company called the new system “a major accomplishment,” while noting that 80% of the residents had previously received water directly from an existing spring from which they were at risk of accessing contaminated water.
The water system rehabilitation project was a joint effort of GWI, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which provided a sum of US$19,000, the Regional Democratic Council and the Yurong Paru Village Council, with community members playing a major role in its timely completion
The statement noted that works entailed the procurement of materials, construction of a storage facility and a timber trestle, inter-connection to the existing water supply system, repairing of leaks, improvement of the water distribution system and the installation of a water treatment system.
Managing Director of GWI Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, in an address at the commissioning ceremony, stressed the importance of collaboration in order to bridge the gap that exists among communities in accessing potable water.
“Our experience here in Yurong Paru is in a way moving us forward as a best practice of bringing the agencies together, pooling our resources for the benefit of the people and this is what President [David] Granger wants to see happen,” he was quoted as saying.
He also assured the residents of GWI’s commitment to the improvement of water systems in Region Nine, while noting both the company and the government would be spending more than $150 million to address the water needs of communities in the region for this year.
The statement noted that several homes within the community do not have access to the treated water due to their great distance and, therefore, jerrycans, which are used to filter the water, were handed over to the community for use in those homes.
PAHO/WHO Guyana Consultant in Epidemiology and Environmental Health Dr. Mariano Bonet was also present at the commissioning ceremony and he noted the Government of Guyana has been working hard to ensure that hinterland communities are targeted and are a priority, which is important for sustainable development.
Referencing Sustainable Development Goal number three, which speaks to the health of the people, and Goal number six, which speaks to water and sanitation, Dr. Bonet said that what the world wants has materialised in Yurong Paru with the commissioning of the water supply system.
Dr. Bonet also spoke of the work that PAHO has been doing along with the government in various communities and assured that this will continue.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the GWI Board of Directors Patricia Chase-Green told the residents that they have now become the owners of the water supply system, which they should sustain and protect in order to ensure their health and well-being.
The residents expressed their gratitude to GWI and its partners, while Toshao Rovain Francis noted that the children, especially, would now benefit from treated water. He spoke of the poor quality of water that the residents were accessing previously.
GWI said the sustainability of the water system has also been ensured with the training of residents in the application of water treatment, as well as maintenance and safe operation of the system.