Apr 03, 2017 News
– two wells installed at Silver Hill and Waiakabra
By Enid Joaquin
After almost 50 years without potable water, residents on the Linden Soesdyke Highway were ecstatic last Wednesday, when the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) commissioned two wells at Silver Hill and Waiakabra,
The wells were reportedly installed at a cost of some $52M. Prior to this, many highway residents were forced to expend much time and money to source water.
“People really happy now; we very grateful, because it used to be really hard on us,” a Silver Hill resident who identified herself as ‘Rachel’ said.
“I, for one, had to go to another village down the highway for water, which is a good pull (distance) from Silver Hill.”
But Rachel was fortunate that she had the use of her car to transport receptacles filled with water. Others, not so lucky, had to pay to have potable water delivered to their homes.
Another villager said: “This is a blessing. It gon ease we hardships, because we need water to do everything and not everybody could pay for water delivery. “
Yet others had to depend on nearby creeks, and the rain.
The Silver Hill well, which is solar powered, will be servicing approximately 200 residents.
It is located in proximity to the school and the Health Centre and has two black tanks for storage. There are, however, no ‘black tanks’ at the Waiakabra facility, as the well is reportedly some 300 feet deep, and this will reportedly ensure a steady flow of water. That well would be providing potable water to some 500 residents, including those from the nearby community of Hill Foot.
The well at Waiakabra was reportedly installed at the cost of some $51M, while the one at Silver Hill was done free of cost by contractor Andrea Webb, according to GWI Director of Project Implementation, Ramchand Jailall.
Jailall said that the cost to establish the well at Silver Hill was ‘’negligible”, as GWI had made an open call to contractors, and Webb responded and subsequently drilled the well free of cost. He also built the trestle for the tanks.
GWI provided the pump and other amenities, which would have amounted to some $1.1M, according to Jailall.
CEO of GWI, Dr. Richard Van-West Charles told Kaieteur News that the Community Development Council of Silver Hill had written GWI about a year ago, regarding the possibility of getting potable water to the community.
“’So we tried to see how best we could respond, and subsequently met with residents on both sides of the highway, and they agreed that if we placed it (the well) here, they would have no difficulty coming over to get their water, because we explained to them that it would have been difficult to get the lines across the Highway.”
Dr. Van West Charles said that a contractor agreed to do all the drilling, after which GWI put in the necessary infrastructure.
He added that the particular location at Silver Hill was chosen, to ensure that the water is connected to the nearby school and Health Centre. He also noted, that a number of standpipes were placed throughout the community.
But some residents who live behind the school, where no standpipes were installed, are asking that some form of connection be extended in that vicinity so that they too, could enjoy the benefits of having ‘standpipes’ close to their homes, thus eliminating the hardship of fetching the water over difficult terrain.
No Man’s Land!
Van West Charles in further articulating GWI”s position, regarding the servicing of areas along the Linden Soesdyke Highway, declared, “You know previously the Highway was like no-man’s land; so after I came on board, I ensured that the boundaries of GWI’s operations are in line with regional boundaries.”
He noted too, that although a number of communities along the thoroughfare were given water in the past, there are still other communities, such as Adventure, Long Creek and Kairuni, which lack potable water.
Van West Charles promised that solutions would be found for all those communities.
Regional Manager Rawle Friday said that GWI is currently looking at expansion and so will be considering all ‘pockets’ of areas where persons are residing, and are without potable water.
Junior Minister within the Ministry of communities, Dawn Hastings-Williams in her feature address at Wednesday’s commissioning of the Silver Hill facility, commended the CDC, which she noted was instrumental in having the well constructed.
“Today, the 29th of March, 2017, the Ministry of Communities, through GWI, is delivering safe potable water to Silver Hill.
During the past 45 years, residents had to pool their monies and pay private persons to pump and deliver water to their homes, because water is very essential. However, not anymore; as from today the residents of Silver Hill, the Primary School and the health post, will be receiving save potable water, and that is what the APNU/AFC had promised during their elections campaign- a good life for all Guyanese.”
Hastings-Williams commended the GWI team, including CEO Dr. Van West Charles.
National Director of Community Development Councils, Eugene Gilbert called the Silver Hill project “a small project with a big impact”, and emphasized the importance of community development, or “any grass root based organization taking action in their own development.”
He noted that Silver Hill was an unserved area as it does not fall within the Neighborhood Democratic Council, but that the people had established themselves as a CDC. He explained that CDC’s are not ‘elective bodies’ of government, but are really “voluntary grass roots based organizations”, where people take their interest into their own hands, and make requisite representations for the development of their respective communities.
Gilbert said that what happened at Silver Hill is a ‘fantastic model”’ of what can happen across Guyana, as the Government cannot do everything for everyone.
Chairman of Region Ten, Rennis Morian, applauded the residents of Silver Hill for their strong advocacy in making the establishment of the well a possibility. Morian said that potable water is a fundamental right of humanity.
He also alluded to what was said by President David Granger during his campaign, where he posited that the fundamental rights of all Guyanese are not just guaranteed but should be implemented.
Morian added that when he arrived at Silver Hill and realized that water will be running in the community, he acknowledged that “we’re on the move.”
He encouraged the residents to push for other facilities, such as those that would promote sporting activities for young people, and that would help to steer them away from deviant behavior.
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