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GWI spends millions to truck water to Madewini Camp; company clearing debts to major hardware stores

The cash-strapped Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) has been spending GYD$400,000 per month for the past three years to truck water to the Madewini Youth Camp at Soesdyke in an area where residents say they have been without potable water for almost two weeks.

Residents told Demerara Waves Online News that it will cost GYD$3 million in pipelines to supply water from the northern end of the runway to their area

Their concerns have come at a time when a number of suppliers have been complaining about being owed more than GY$100 million dollars for supplies such as pipe fittings.

Managing Director of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West Charles says all of these problems are being gradually addressed. He disputed figures by residents in the East Bank Demerara area that the trucking company was being paid GY$1 million per month for the past two years to truck water to the youth camp. Instead, the Managing Director says it costs GY$400,000 monthly to shuttle water to the facility.

In terms of the debts, he said debts to Gafoors and Muneshwer’s have been settled. “We paid off quite a few recently and we are going to pay off the rest in another week or two,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. A number of hardware stores had recently stopped doing business with GWI because of unpaid debts for a long period of time.

On the issue of whether the stores could have been paid in a timely basis, the official insisted that “they are being paid. If we have money for them, they’ll get their money.” Asked how the debts have accumulated, he said when sections of the porous network develops leaks parts and fittings have to be available.

GWI’s Managing Director, Dr Richard Van West Charles

Van West Charles said plans are in the pipeline to dig a well for potable water at a cost of GYD$40 million which he hopes would be included in next year’s capital programme. “We will have to truck until I can find a solution. We are hoping that we can buy a rig and so we can do more wells ourselves at a cheaper cost and that is one of the areas we are hoping to take a new rig to in 2019,” he said.

He noted that recently lightning destroyed a well at Kuru Kuru, causing GWI to install a smaller well there.

Vanwest Charles acknowledged that water was being trucked into the Madewini area, but GWI planned to dig a deep instead of a shallow well to ensure residents get a high quality of water. “I have to see what’s the best solution for Madewini but we have other communities and I can’t tackle all of them at one time,” he said.

The GWI recently obtained approval from the Public Utilities Commission to increase its rates for consumption and fixed charges. However, sources have told Demerara Waves Online News that the company could have avoided increases in its operational costs by not renting so many buildings unnecessarily and avoiding an almost 100 percent increase in the number of employees.