– Minister Ali
“Infrastructural development in housing areas will only be implemented with urgency if the owners of house lots are taking up occupancy. It makes no sense for us to put a well in an area when you only have about 30 per cent occupancy,” said Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali, as he attempted to explain the basis on which infrastructural development projects are undertaken.
According to the Minister, with the increase in occupancy in some areas, such as is evident in Diamond and Grove on the East Bank of Demerara, efforts are being made to up the pace at which infrastructures are being added.
He pointed to the fact that like in any other country infrastructural programmes have to be coordinated and could often take a while before they are unfolded thus the need for early occupancy.
The Minister expressed apologetic remarks to the East Bank residents as he disclosed that there are currently large sections of Diamond and Grove that do not have access to a service level that is adequate despite the rise in occupancy there.
“We want to express gratitude to the people in these communities in terms of water delivery for their patience and understanding. These schemes are extensive and at present the network could not deal with it. So what we have done is secure financing for a new well in Diamond,” the Minister divulged.
He said that an award of just over $100M for the well is slated to be made in the very near future. That investment, he noted, will cater for the network in the two areas, adding that there should be marked improvements in the supply of water by the end of October.
Ali said that as part of infrastructural development more than $4B has been budgeted to be spent in the water sector this year.
“This is record spending and represents new investment in the sector. In Region Ten alone we are spending $166M in upgrading and expansions of infrastructure so we have a lot of successes but we want to focus on the challenges ahead. This is our focus we will continue to get the highlights whether negative or positive from the media but we are not going to let that determine how we manage our programmes.”
As part of the process of managing, the Minister noted that efforts will be geared at helping people to understand the economic value of water which is an important part in reducing commercial losses. He emphasised that water losses are occurring on a regular basis although customers are subjected to pay less than US$4 a month for their supply.
Also as part of the new infrastructural projects, sections of Berbice this year will be exposed to massive development works through a contract that will be awarded to Japanese contractors to construct a Water Treatment Plant.
The Plant, according to Ali will service residents in Number 73 Village all the way to Moleson Creek and is expected to attract approximately $1.2 B.
“We are talking about 18,000 customers being serviced. This is a major development for Berbice this year in addition to our normal capital investment that we are spending to improve the network and distribution,” the Minister added.
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