There’s a classic economic paradox about the price of water and value, and it comes from Adam Smith: Why do diamonds cost more than water? The comparison is meant to demonstrate how pricing works – that even though water is essential for human survival, our economy puts prices on things based on scarcity and value (and marginal utility). As long as water remains abundant, the cheapness of water most likely shouldn’t change. With the addition of water meters in the Arcadia/Mocha Area on the East Bank of Demerara, the serious question as to the cost for water in an abundant nation as Guyana comes in focus. Why does a four-member household pay $20,000 in water bills? Research shows that an average bill of $15,000 per home monthly is what is paid in this small village located on the East Bank of Demerara. How ridiculous! This is more than one pays for electricity which we often complain about.
These high rates being charged for a simple commodity such as water is being expended upon the poorer class of people. Well over 60 per cent of Arcadia/Mocha’s residents are self-employed. Water rates should be designed to fully recover the costs of providing water by charging customers in accordance with how they contribute to the costs. Schedules of water rates that charge customers in accordance with the cost of service would be efficient from the economic point of view, in that the price of a unit of water would be equal to the cost of the resources used to obtain and deliver that water. With this letter it is hoped that the higher authorities at Guyana Water Inc hear the cries of the residents of these two communities. We need help. Our water bills are too high.