A 5 percent (%) reduction in water tariffs across the board, targeting all levels of consumers, is one of a series of measures that will be embarked upon to bring relief to Guyanese especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is according to Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, who during his presentation of the 2021 budget to the National Assembly on Friday, reminded the importance of water to daily activities at both the residential and commercial levels.
He stated that within two months after taking office in August 2020, the PPP/C Government restored the water subsidy to senior citizens from which some 28,270 have benefitted thus far.
According to the Finance Minister, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has prepared a new five (5)-year strategic plan for the period 2021-2025 which is aligned with national priorities. This plan, he noted, will work in tandem with the Government’s mission to provide clean, reliable and affordable water with emphasis on increasing access to treated water coverage to 90 percent (%), reduction of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), the modernisation of the sanitisation infrastructure network, integrated water resource management and wastewater treatment.
It was reminded that at the end of last year (2020), several projects under the water sector commenced, altogether to the tune of $2.7 billion. This year, $4 billion has been allocated to procure equipment and improve and expand the water supply network systems across the country.
HGP Nightly News understands that provision was made for the drilling of new wells along with the upgrading of photovoltaic systems, storage facilities, distribution networks and service connections across Regions One, Three, Seven, Eight and Nine.
The upgrading of distribution networks across Regions Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) will be undertaken.
Meanwhile, in order to address the issue of Non-Revenue Water, the procurement and installation of 20,000 water meters to the tune of $275 million will be expended for Residential and Business Areas across the country.
Additionally, $200 million has been allocated to expand the Sophia, Eccles, Covent Garden, Grove, Friendship and Vergenoegen water treatment plants to benefit over 50,000 residents.
The transmission mains between Church to Cummings Streets and Cemetery Road to Mandela Avenue have also been earmarked for upgrading in order to ensure that over 35,000 residents benefit.
There has also been $100 million allocated to procure electromechanical equipment for the rehabilitation of water production facilities.