…says critical resource fast becoming scarce around the world
Ahead of the global observance of World Water Day on Wednesday, Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry Susan Rodrigues is calling on Guyanese to play their role in ensuring the sustainable management of water – a critical resource that is fast becoming scarce around the world.
She was at the time addressing participants of a walkathon exercise held by the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) in recognition of World Water Day which will be held on March 22, 2023, under the theme “Accelerating Change to Solve the Water and Sanitation Crisis”.
Minister Rodrigues joined GWI’s Chief Executive Officer, Shaik Baksh, to lead the exercise, which started at the seawall roundabout and ended at GWI’s Vlissengen Road Office. GWI Board Member, Dharamkumar Seeraj; UNICEF Guyana and Suriname Deputy Representative, Irfan Akhtar, and representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as Hydrometeorological Service also participated.
In brief remarks after the walkathon, the Housing and Water Minister urged all to use the country’s water resources wisely. She stated that while many may take access to water for granted, water is fast becoming one of the scarcest resources in the world, with over two billion people globally not having access to safe water.
“Water is life. We know that wherever there is water, there is life. And so, many studies and scientists are saying to us that water will become very, very scarce in the not-so-distant future and it will become one of the world’s most valuable resource… So, we have to think what is going on globally to really appreciate our situation locally,” she stated.
According to Rodrigues, it is therefore important now more than ever that everyone make the necessary changes in their usage and management of water.
“We have to save water and saving water does not call for some major action. It’s the small things that we can do to preserve water and to teach our children that this resource is a precious resource and whatever little we can do to save it, we must do it,” the Minister stressed.
In addition to making changes within their households, she is also urging persons to be aware of water wastage within their communities and to report any leakages. It was further explained by the Minister that leakages on the water lines not only cause wastage but also affect those accessing water from that line as well.
“So, it has a trickle-down effect… we have to start changing the way we think about water and the way we think about the management of water,” she noted.
Rodrigues went on to note that the Guyana Government is providing the necessary funds to ensure that all Guyanese have access to water, including vulnerable populations and those in the hinterland and riverine communities.
Currently, Guyana has a 97 per cent rate of access to water across the country. In the hinterland regions, there has been a significant improvement of access to water from 46 per cent in 2020 to 75 per cent in 2022. This is expected to be further increased to 85 per cent by the end of this year.
According to Rodrigues, with Guyana’s high percentage of access to water, the focus now has shifted towards access to treated water across the country. The goal, she said, is to have 90 per cent of treated water by 2025 – five years ahead of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (#6) of 2030, which is access to clean water.
Meanwhile, the UNICEF Guyana Representative pledged the organisation’s continued support to GWI to further enhance the access to safe drinking water especially in the hinterland communities. He too urged that the walk turn into action by locals to save water.
“This walk is also an important step towards realisation of SDG 6, which is safe drinking water and sanitation. And I believe, we should all walk together to make sure that every child has access to safe water, quality water and clean water everywhere in the country,” Khan posited.
On the other hand, the CEO of GWI disclosed that Sunday’s walk was the kick-start of a series of activities planned for this year’s observance of World Water Day.
According to Baksh, GWI has formulated plans and programmes to ensure that Guyana achieves SDG 6. He noted that while it is a challenging feat, the water company is steadfast in meeting 100 per cent access to water across the country before 2030.
“Water loss is a main challenge for GWI. We must save water and we must care for this special resource here in Guyana,” the GWI boss implored.
Following Sunday’s walk, several prizes were also awarded to participants including kids. (G8)