GWI seeking to buy back-up generators for stations serving large communities

Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) is mulling the purchase of additional generators to support its pump stations currently serving heavily populated areas around the country, according to Managing Director Dr. Richard Van West-Charles.

Van West-Charles made the pronouncement at the utility company’s recent half year review after it was revealed that only 15% of the company’s pump stations have backup generators.

“As a result of this, in our proposal for support from the Government of Guyana we’re seeking to purchase some additional generator sets, especially for the large populated areas because of the impact in those areas from the point of view of security. In some of these cases, if a fire were to break out in these highly populated areas, if we do not have a generator set there, we are unable to pump [water] if there’s blackout. So we are looking at this from a point of view both of a sustainable and security standpoint,” he explained.

Because of the lack of generators at most of GWI’s pump stations, Van West-Charles noted that they have placed loggers in their water system to manage the water level and pressure in real time and to detect whenever there are issues.

“The loggers monitor and once the pressure goes beyond a certain level at night and once it drops below a certain level, we send out a team and sometimes it might just be a simple power outage or low voltage in that area. It helps us to understand what’s happening at the pump stations. We have 141 pump stations and that’s only on the coast. It takes a lot of effort and distance to cover and manage these pump stations,” Executive Director of Operations Dwayne Shako explained, while noting that before they would have to rely on customers to report to them about pressure issues but now they can monitor it in real time.

Van West-Charles also noted that they are having issues with the materials they import even though they give certain specifications and import from certified manufacturers.

“GWI would give specification… but we have no installed capacity in the country to be able to assess whether the material is meeting the standard as required. We may have a manufacturer [with] a certificate but in essence, as a developing country, we haven’t got everything in place,” he explained.

Van West-Charles also noted that 18 of the company’s wells around the country that use carbon steel casings have shown large signs of decay and as a result they have started changing them.

He also noted that they will also be looking at the certification for their contractors and in-house workers for their drilling capabilities.

“If you’re a firm and you’re going to embark on drilling, your driller must be certified through a process, so I believe that is where we should get very soon in terms of looking at certification. For this reason, for the last three years, we have sent a number of our staff to Oklahoma so that they can be oriented to proper drilling techniques and we are hoping to do our own drilling because that is going to help us reduce the cost,” he added.

He also noted that they have been having issues with drilling wells in certain areas in regions 1, 7, 8, and 9 due to the geography of the area.    

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