CDB approves US$76.2 million for upgrade of Guyana water supply systems

Last Updated on Monday, 10 July 2023, 17:12 by Denis Chabrol

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, July 10, 2023: The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on Monday announced it has approved a US$76.2 million loan to the Government of Guyana for the Guyana Water Supply Improvement Project under which the water supply systems serving five coastal communities will undergo major upgrades.

The infrastructure development initiative involves the construction of five water treatment plants, complete with storage tanks, and the installation of transmission mains and water meters to vastly improve the quality and reliability of the water supply to Bush Lot, Tain to No. 50 Village, Walton Hall to Charity, Wakenaam and Leguan Island. Nearly 15,000 households in these communities will benefit from the interventions.

“Improving access to safe, reliable, and sustainable water and sanitation is an area of high priority identified for support from the CDB to propel holistic development which will enhance quality of life, improve health and safety and ensure greater well-being among citizens across the Region,” CDB’s Vice President, Operations, Mr. Isaac Solomon was quoted as saying in a statement by the Barbados-headquartered regional bank.

He added, “The Guyana Water Supply Improvement Project is also in alignment with Guyana’s development priorities which include stimulating future growth through clean energy and sustainable activities, and several Sustainable Development Goals including those relating to improving access to clean water and sanitation, and the promotion of healthy communities and good health and wellbeing.”

The five benefitting communities are currently supplied by wells that have no water treatment facilities. Also, the water supply is currently subject to disruption due to pump failures, line breakages, and flooding of water supply infrastructure.

The initiative is one of the first to be carried out under CDB’s Guyana Country Engagement Strategy (2023-2025). The Project will support the GOGY’s efforts to increase the percentage of persons having access to treated water to 90% by 2025. At present, although 96% of the population has access to potable water only 53% of the supply meets the aesthetic standard of the World Health Organisation due to the high iron content.

CDB says its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment indicated that an increase in the availability and accessibility of improved water will address several of the challenges that residential and commercial water users in the earmarked communities currently experience such as the need to purchase drinking water, and the extended time necessary to clean domestic items or hardware affected by the use of the untreated water which is currently supplied. In addition to the time and money savings projected, the intervention will be particularly beneficial to persons living in low-income households, and women and girls, who typically have primary responsibility for water-related chores.

The Project, which will be implemented over three years, is scheduled to start in March 2024.