Investor eyes exporting Guyana’s freshwater to other countries

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A team from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducting water quality sampling [Guyana Chronicle photo]

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, on Wednesday stated that, only recently, an investor indicated an interest in exporting Guyana’s freshwater – given the country’s large capacity – to countries that are in need of the commodity.

The Minister made this revelation while attending an event hosted by the Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS). He stated that, in some countries, the freshwater capacity is significantly reduced, thus forcing those countries to import water.

“If you look at other countries, the freshwater supply significantly (has reduced), there’re countries that are importing fresh water into the country. only recently, there was an investor here looking to do that, looking to export fresh water to countries that don’t have,” he said.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), although 70% of the planet is covered in water, freshwater — which is used to drink, bathe, and irrigate farm fields — is incredibly rare.

The WWF said only 3 per cent of the world’s water is freshwater, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers, or is otherwise unavailable for use. As a result, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has predicted that half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025.

While not expanding on these discussions, the Minister posited that other investors from Colombia are interested in refining and distributing water that is extracted from crude offshore Guyana.

“Only yesterday (Tuesday), I had a meeting with a few investors who came from Colombia, and in Colombia they do mostly onshore oil exploration and production, so they came up with a plan for Guyana to treat the water that is being extracted during oil exploration and to distribute throughout the communities,” he disclosed.

“For those of you who are unfamiliar (with) how the process goes, when there is the extraction of the crude from the ground, it’s three components: it’s the water, the gas, and then the crude, or oil…So (what) they are proposing is that we use the water that is coming out, to treat or refine it, and then distribute it,” the Minister explained.

However, Bharrat related that Guyana has no need for such an initiative, due to the country’s abundance of fresh water.

“Then is when I realised how blessed we are. Again, there is no need for us to do that; Guyana is the ‘land of many waters’, we have an abundance of fresh water. So, I told them, ‘Whatever you’re planning to do might apply for a country that is not like Guyana, where we have an abundance of freshwater, things that we take for granted on a daily basis’.”