Sanitation in Georgetown earmarked for improvement

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday October 29, 2010 – The Guyana government will be able to provide improved sewage service to 52,000 people in the capital, Georgetown, and help eliminate neglected tropical diseases with a US$9.5 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The funds will be used by Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), a public utility owned by the government, to improve the operational performance of the Georgetown sewerage system through the reconstruction of its most critical components. It will include the complete replacement of the 5.5-kilometre sewerage ring main in Georgetown, replacement of all the delivery mains, and purchase of additional pumps and maintenance equipment.

“The loan will also enable GWI to improve its financial performance by replacing or upgrading pumps so that they consume less electricity – one of the utility’s major operating expenses,” a statement from the IDB said. 

“The programme will include the purchase of portable measuring equipment, the replacement of inefficient pumping equipment and operational improvements to electric motors in 12 selected locations.”

The Bank added that a portion of the loan will be used to finance public health programmes that will limit the transmission of water-related neglected tropical diseases, including lymphatic filariasis and intestinal helminthiasis. These and other diseases have persisted in parts of Georgetown partly because the sewage system, built nearly 80 years ago, suffers from frequent blockages and ruptures that can expose residents to untreated wastewater.

The loan will also pay for activities to strengthen the capacity of GWI’s Wastewater Management Division and its Energy Efficiency Group. These will include development of an asset management implementation strategy; knowledge transfer and staff training programmes on wastewater operation and maintenance practices and energy use; and public awareness campaigns, specifically targeting schools and business owners.

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