Residents in the village of Isseneru, Region Seven, are now enjoying first-time access to potable water, with the commissioning of a $59 million water supply system.
The system was commissioned on Tuesday by the Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal. Also present were the Director of Hinterland Services, Ramchand Jailal, Toshao, Dhaness Larson, residents, and other officials.
Minister Croal, in his address, stated that the development of water and other services in hinterland communities is paramount to the government.
"We intend to provide you with the same type of development available on the coastland [...] not until we are able to bridge the gap will our work feel satisfied," the Minister said.
Previously, there was no functioning water supply system in Isseneru, which has a population of 500 persons. Residents would therefore use water from the Mazaruni River and practice rainwater harvesting.
The new system provides water to all residents in the central area and public buildings such as schools and the health centre.
The Minister, in his address, also lauded the work of the contractor, Adamantium Holdings, for the delivery of the project despite a number of challenges with the location and terrain.
Meanwhile, Jailal urged the community to ensure that the system is utilised correctly. He also noted that two Community Service Officers (CSOs) were trained in water operation and maintenance to assist with the management of the system.
The scope of works for the water supply system included: the drilling of new potable water well to a depth of 390 feet, the installation of 3000 meters of 50mm (2”) PVC pipes & 1000 meters of 19mm (3/4”) pipes with 90 service connections, construction of a 20 feet elevated metal trestle with storage and 6 No. 600 gallon storage tanks, installation of photovoltaic pumping system including submersible pump, controller, solar panels and accessories, and construction of galvanized chain-link fence around well and photovoltaic system.
The water has also been tested to ensure its quality conforms to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Residents of the community also welcomed the project. Community Health Worker Ronald Gayral stated, "it would be very beneficial to the village, our main water supply would be from the creek, but when it's dry season it would be very hard on the villagers."
He also added that the new well would provide safer drinking water, which is expected to reduce the number of illnesses caused by the contaminated water from the river.
Cedric Wilkie, who is a teacher at the primary school, remarked that the well would improve the quality of the school and community by extension.
"We should benefit within the community and school and other areas as well, so I think it's a good initiative," Wilkie said.
Overall, when the Irfaan Ali government took Office in 2020, access to potable water supply in Region Seven was approximately 34%. However, after the completion of three water supply systems in 2021 at Kurutuku, Kamarang, and Jawalla, access was increased to 47%.
Moreover, the government is undertaking six water supply projects in 2022 – including the Isseneru system – which are expected to further push access to water in Region Seven to 65% by the end of the year.
Through GWI's 2020-2025 strategic plan, the government is looking to increase water coverage to 95%-100% by 2025.
During the meeting, the Minister also highlighted several interventions to benefit the residents in education, health, agricultural, and infrastructure development and handed over a number of sports gear to the community.
Residents were also given the opportunity to raise a number of issues affecting the community, which will be addressed at the Cabinet level.