Study to use Hope Canal for ECD water reservoir to start before June

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The Hope Canal on the East Coast of Demerara (Photo: Guyana, South America Facebook)

Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal has disclosed that a study would soon get underway to determine whether the water captured at the Hope Canal facility can be treated to be used as a sustainable source to serve the East Coast Demerara (ECD) corridor.

“The actual study we expect to start…before June. We are in the design phase, and we have to go out to advertise,” Minister Croal disclosed during the commissioning of a Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) well at Lusignan, ECD earlier this week.

It was noted there that this initiative to reuse the Hope Canal water is necessary, as Guyana confronts Climate Change as well as respond to the growing demands for more service connections.

In fact, President Dr Irfaan Ali stated during his feature address at the event that, “We dump 10s of 1000s of gallons of water from the Hope Canal into the Atlantic. So, one of the projects that we’re currently doing is examining the feasibility of converting that water and treating that water so that it can meet the demand on the East Coast.

“It is not a simple task, but we have a responsibility to ensure we develop and derive the best possible approach to the sustainable development of our country,” the President has said.

Speaking with this publication afterwards, Minister Croal disclosed that the GWI has strengthened its capacity in order to ensure that initiatives such as this are executed in a timely manner.

“Rest assured that we will be moving quickly, and that is why, from GWI’s perspective, we have improved on our technical capacity in-house in terms of the necessary competent staff, to have a Project Department that can push and have these work done quickly,” he explained.

Collin Croal, Minister of Housing and Water

According to Housing and Water Minister Croal, if the studies are successful, the water company would be tapping into other similar reservoirs across the country to source water.

“We believe it’s freshwater that we can be able to service the entire East Coast with. But it won’t only be Hope Canal. Futuristically, we also are looking at others; for example, in Region Six, [where] they also have a number of canals. So, futuristically, this is the way we will go.”

“And equally important”, he said, “we’re also looking at water treatment, and that’s why we’re putting in a number of water treatment plants [across the country], starting from Essequibo,” Croal has posited.

Moreover, the Housing and Water Minister outlined that the reality is Government is doing a number of new housing schemes across the country, and there is, and will be, increasing demand for water, hence Government has to respond accordingly.

He disclosed that this demand is reflective of the fact that, since assuming office in August 2020 to the end of 2021, nearly 3,000 new water meter allocations have been made on the East Coast Demerara corridor.

At the commissioning ceremony on Wednesday, President Ali reiterated his Government’s plan to have 100 per cent access to treated water on the coast by 2025. To this end, he noted that since August 2020, Government has spent some $6.2 billion on the water sector, and another $11 billion has been earmarked for the next two years.

“We want to ensure that by the time we get to 2025, we have 100% access to good, potable water, and efficient supply of water all along the coast. We want to move from a present position where 52% of our people have access to treated water to a position on the course where 100% of our people must have access to treated water; that is, you can take your glass, take the water from the tap, and drink it. That is where this investment will take us,” the Head of State noted.

Added to this, he said, Government is aiming to increase the current 60 per cent access to water in hinterland and riverine communities up to 100 per cent. As such, the Guyanese Leader said, 12 new water treatment plants would be established in each region across the country.

In fact, Government is moving aggressively towards the construction of six of these new water treatment plants this year.

GWI Chief Executive Officer Shaik Baksh has revealed that the tender for these six new plants would be out by May this year. He noted that the preliminary concept designs for these plants would be completed in a record time of three to four months.