Some 3,500 residents of Wakenaam Island, Region Three (Essequibo Island-West Demerara) now have access to 24-hour water service, as a $50 million water distribution system was commissioned in the Noitgedacht village, on Monday.
The Noitgedacht Well, the first of its kind to be drilled by the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), was officially commissioned by His Excellency, Dr Irfaan Ali.
During his address, the head of state said the construction of the well by the staff of GWI has resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in cost, with a design life cycle of 30 years.
Not only will there be improved access to water on the Island, but the president announced that a US$6.3 million water treatment plant will also be constructed in Noitgedacht that will provide 100 per cent treated water to residents.
The project falls under GWI’s coastal water treatment infrastructure programme for which the government intends to spend $25 billion over the next few years.
Describing Wakenaam as an ‘important island’, President Ali said the area will play a critical role in the development of the food production system for the Caribbean, and therefore, billions of dollars will be invested to transform the water, roads, drainage and other critical infrastructure.
“We cannot look at the infrastructure investment and development in isolation of the macro plan. So, this water facility here, this new well must be linked to something bigger,” the president said.
President Ali, while outlining the massive investments expected on the Island, announced that the government will also be investing in a 750-kilowatt solar power system at a cost $2.3 million to provide clean and reliable energy to the residents.
“This system will start within two months hopefully,” he said.
Further, President Ali said in the next three years, the entire road network on the Island will be done in phases. Already, $500 million has been expended in drainage and irrigation, and sea defence.
“What does this mean? That perhaps with investment in river defense that we must make, would be another $1 billion of investment that’s $2 billion,” he explained.
Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal explained that the well was designed by GWI utilising new technology which saved time and reduced cost. It replaced a deteriorated well causing residents to receive water access on a scheduled basis.
He further stated that, in keeping with the massive housing drive underway in Region Three, a number of wells are being rehabilitated at Fellowship and Vergenoegen on the West Coast of Demerara and in Free and Easy, Wakenaam.
“We [the government] have committed to providing improved water distribution and access to all citizens and the past two years have seen us harness all the resources given to the sector to ensure that citizens benefited,” Minister Croal told the residents.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of GWI, Sheik Baksh explained that the water quality analysis from GWI’s laboratory confirmed that the water is consistent with the ground water quality from the aquifer on the island. He noted that the current production of the well is more than 200 per cent of the total daily water demand of the Island.
Also in attendance were Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry, Susan Rodrigues, and Member of Parliament, Dharamkumar Seeraj and other regional