Twenty-four residents of Region Nine, including teachers, health workers, servicemen and councillors, are now armed with vital information to work with the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) on solutions for dealing with the effects of prolonged dry seasons, hygiene, water quality and harvesting of rainwater.
The residents of Nappi, Parishara, and Hiawa of the Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo became so equipped when they participated in a workshop on water supply, sanitation, and hygiene in their communities. The workshop was held at the Nappi Central Benab.
Dubbed a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) workshop, the event was hosted under the Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership Programme and was a collaborative effort among the GWI, the Office of Climate Change (OCC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It was made possible through a grant from the People of Japan.
The objective of the WASH Workshop was to increase awareness of water supply, sanitation, hygiene and to educate the communities about the maintenance of climate resilient infrastructure, storage tanks, pipe networks, filters and rainwater harvesting.
It forms part of a Guyana Pilot Project which is being rolled out in the aforementioned communities by the OCC in conjunction with the UNDP. The pilot project focuses on improving the resilience of the water supply infrastructure in the communities to extreme climate conditions, particularly droughts.
It was determined that the pilot warrants the active participation of GWI as a key player, especially with regard to climate change impacts on water resources, well conditions, specific capacity, water supply, demand balance, and water quality monitoring.
Toshao Guy Fredricks expressed his appreciation for the collaborative effort.
GWI’s Alternative Energy Manager, Mr Cleon French, detailed GWI’s work in Region 9 to improve access to potable water for all residents in the 57 communities where GWI has developed infrastructure.
GWI also engaged the services of Ms Lucina Singh – Climate Change Officer, to provide guidance on formulating solutions for the communities affected by the prolonged dry weather conditions and on climate change adaptation from which residents share their experience with drought.
The team observed that the communities of Haiwa, Nappi and Parishara have wells which are producing adequate for the communities. GWI’s Executive Director of Design & Infrastructure, Mr Aubrey Roberts, said, “It is pivotal to monitor the water level in these wells and to have good water practices and storage.”
He also gave a broad overview of how GWI delivers water to residents and the role communities can play to sustain the investments in the water supply systems.
Sanitation is also important and residents were told that if they practise good sanitation then they can preserve their health. The importance of effective hand washing was discussed by GWI’s Sanitation Manager, Mr Rensford Joseph. The company’s Head of Water Quality, Dr Deon Anderson, tasked residents with keeping their water sources safe for consumption purposes. He also engaged residents on how bleach should be used and what to do if their water should become contaminated. Further, health workers were taught how to collect water samples for microbiological analysis.
GWI’s Region 9 Manager, Mr John Yow, explained the operation of solar-powered water systems and the importance of timely feedback from the community to sustain the water supply. He also outlined that maintenance will be provided from the GWI Lethem office, together with the efforts of the Servicemen in the communities.