Water is by far the most important commodity in any country. Without water we cannot survive. Without water, a great many things would not be done.
Guyanese have experienced times when water was not readily available and it is well known how hard those days were. As such it should be appreciated how important water is.
This is the 21st century. In this day and age, consumers of water in Guyana expect that now that Guyana has been rebuilt, they would enjoy good water pressure, capable of reaching the second level of any building and for twenty-four hours each day.
It is no use boasting about increasing access to a potable water supply when those who receive that access have to store water in order to be assured of its supply for the greater part of the day when there is minimal pressure.
It is no use announcing adjustments in the traffic structure so as to promote conservation of water when there are persons who are willing to pay for the water they receive but are not obtaining this water.
It is high time that the Guyana Water Authority Inc. explain to the public, just when those who now have access to potable water will be able to enjoy water at a steady pressure twenty-four hours a day because this is what used to happen in colonial Guyana, more than forty-six years ago.
It is accepted that in colonial Guyana there were many areas that were without water and later persons with supply lines had to fetch water for hours each day and sometimes for miles.
However, since 1992, billions of dollars have been spent in improving the water supply network in the country. Many areas which were previously not provided with potable water are now receiving but in most instances, either the quality of water is a problem or the reliability of the supply is of concern.
We are now learning about the impressive percentage of Guyanese who now have access to water. But what kind of water and at what pressure is this water being supplied and for how long each day?
The Ministry of Housing and Water has to stop bombarding this nation with talk about improvements. The public is tired of that. The public wants water and they want clean water coming through their taps and they want to have this water without using storage tanks or water pumps.
People know the importance of water. They are willing to pay for this water. It is patently unfair to ask people to pay for water which they have to store and pump to their upper flats in order to use it. It would be much better if a higher tariff was charged and in turn a better service provided.
Then there is the issue of sewage. Here again a great deal of money has been spent. Yet in many areas sewage spillage occurs and not far from where an international hotel is being built raw sewage used to be disposed of into the river leading to the ocean
Thus it is not sufficient for the authorities to keep boasting about the improvements to the system when all these problems still exist. What is needed is not to discourage persons who are large users of water. This is all the more so considering that there are thousands of homes in Guyana which use water and do not pay and others who steal water.
These problems need to be addressed before any decision is made to make adjustments to the tariffs. But in the meantime it is important that the level of service improves for those who enjoy access to the water.
The government must make a concerted effort to phase out the black tanks and water pumps that most households have to use in order to guarantee an adequate supply of water in their homes.
The government must supply water at a high pressure and for twenty-four hours a day.
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