This article needs to be updated.March 2018)(
|Guyana: Water and Sanitation|
|Water coverage (broad definition)||83%|
|Sanitation coverage (broad definition)||70%|
|Continuity of supply (%)||Mostly intermittent|
|Average water use (liter/capita/day)||243|
|Average urban water tariff||0.32 US$/m3|
|Share of household metering||24%|
|Annual investment in water supply and sanitation||n/a|
|Investment financing||Mainly from external sources|
|Decentralization to municipalities||No|
|National water and sanitation company||Guyana Water Inc. (GWI)|
|Water and sanitation regulator||Public Utilities Commission (PUC)|
|Responsibility for policy setting||Ministry of Housing and Water|
|Number of urban service providers||1|
|Number of rural service providers||n/a|
Guyana, meaning "land of many waters", is rich in water resources. Most of the population is concentrated in the coastal plain, much of which is below sea level and is protected by a series of sea walls. A series of shallow reservoirs inland of the coastal plain, called "water conservancies", store surface water primarily for irrigation needs.Key issues in the water and sanitation sector in Guyana are poor service quality, a low level of cost recovery and low levels of access.
The Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for water and sanitation of WHO/UNICEF data defines a basic water source as "Drinking water from an improved source, provided collection time is not more than 30 minutes for a round trip including queuing".JMP figures define basic sanitation as facilities that are designed to hygienically separate excreta from human contact and are not shared among other households.
|At least basic access to drinking water||100||93.93||95.5%|
|At least basic sanitation||91.51||83.69||85.8%|
Percentage of coverage of water and sanitation at the institutional level:
|Hospitals||86||75||92||2004 USAID supported Service Provision Assessment|
|Schools||68||68||-||2015 UNICEF publication Advancing WASH in Schools Monitoring|
Many households have access to several sources of water supply - such as rainwater harvesting, public supply and bottled water - balancing the availability and quality of the various sources. Overall, 94% of the population have access to improved water sources, however Region 9 is considerably worse; only 42% in this region get drinking water from an improved source. Regions 1, 7, and 8 also have relatively low percentages using improved sources, with 81% for Region 1 and 65% for Regions 7 and 8.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of households with piped water increased, however in that time, bottled water as the primary household drinking water increased from 7.9% to 33%. This indicates some doubt regarding the quality of the pipe-borne water.
Drinking water supply
|Accessible on premises||94||92||>99|
|Piped sources||Into dwelling||20.4||18.3||26.3|
|Public tap/stand pipe||.7||.6||.9|
|Tube well/bore hole||.1||.1||0|
|Rain water collection||18.3||22.4||7.3|
|Cart with tank/drum||.4||.6||0|
|Latrines and other||28||34||9|
Sewers only exist in the capital, Georgetown.
The proportion of the population with basic handwashing facilities at home: 77% (2017).
Service quality for customers connected to the public system is poor, including low water pressure in most service areas, intermittent supply in all service areas, and a high risk of bacterial contamination due to the fact that about half of the public supplies receive no disinfection.
Throughout the coastal area of the country the aquifer that supplies most of the drinking water has a high level of iron, making the water red. Iron removal plants are being built to remedy the problem.
Groundwater, which consists of three distinct aquifers, provides about 90% of the domestic water needs of the country. The groundwater system comprises three aquifers:
From about 1913 to 1993, the head in the "A sand" aquifer has declined by 20 meters. According to a 1998 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers, long-term studies are needed to determine the capability of the aquifer to sustain increased withdrawals. Hydrological data are lacking throughout the country, particularly since the late 1960s when data collection decreased dramatically.
Institutionally the sector has evolved from two separate utilities, GS&WC and GUYWA, which were merged in 2002 into a single utility, Guyana Water Inc. (GWI). In 2003 a five-year management contract was signed, which was cancelled by the government in 2007. The utility is now attempting to consolidate itself under a Turnaround Plan.
The Georgetown Sewerage and Water Commissioners were established in 1929 under British colonial rule to operate and maintain the sewerage and waterworks of Central Georgetown.
After the independence of Guyana in 1966 the Pure Water Supply Division of the Ministry of Public Works was responsible for policy setting in the water sector, as well as for water supply outside of Georgetown. The Ministry of Health had the responsibility for sewerage and sanitation activities.
The Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) was established in 1972 to construct, operate and maintain water distribution systems outside of Georgetown to small towns, rural areas and most of the Hinterland regions,taking over the water service provision in these regions from the Ministry of Public Works. GUYWA was under the policy direction of the Ministry of Public Works, Communications and Regional Development. In 1984 responsibility for provision of water services was also placed in the hands of the Regional Democratic Councils, one for each of the country's 10 regions, working alongside GUYWA.
In 1994 GS&WC was made an autonomous public sector institution under the control of the Minister of Works and Communications through the Georgetown Sewerage and Water Amendment Act Number 4.
In 2000, with the assistance of the donor community led by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), and the World Bank, the Government of Guyana embarked on a reorganization of the water sector with the goal of increasing access to safe and affordable water. Specifically it aimed to achieve: (i) a modern, efficient, and customer-oriented utility; (ii) long-term financial sustainability; and (iii) an institutional framework characterized by independent regulatory functions and a clear division of responsibilities. The Caribbean Development Bank, the European Union and the European Investment Bank also supported the reforms with financial commitments.
In 2002 the Water and Sewerage Act was passed, which merged the Georgetown Sewerage and Water Commissioners (GS&WC) and the Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA), to form Guyana Water Inc. (GWI).In January 2003 a performance-based five-year management contract was awarded to an international private operator, Severn Trent Water International (STWI). The contract was fully funded through a grant from the British government. Furthermore, the mandate of the existing Public Utility Commission (PUC) was extended to review water tariffs. A ten-year investment program was elaborated and drinking water standards were established.
In February 2007 the government terminated the management contract alleging that the company failed to meet five out of the seven objectives in the contract. Minister of Housing and Water Harry Narine Nawbatt said that the decision was influenced by the results of an audit into STWI's performance carried out by the consulting firm Halcrow.
According to the Minister, four out of the five missed targets were:
STWI, however, pointed out a number of achievements during the four years it operated in Guyana: "significant improvements in water quality"; an alleged reduction of non-revenue water from 61% to 44% (a figure that is in contradiction with what the government says was the result of the audit); an alleged increase in hours of water supplied and system pressure by more than 80%; an alleged increase in revenues from G$ 900m 2002 to G$1.7bn in 2006; the introduction of a customer information and billing system; and emergency supplies during the 2005 floods. STWI also pointed out several factors beyond its control that made it difficult to achieve its contractual targets: a disastrous flood in 2005; energy costs increasing by over 40%; the difficulty of recruiting and retaining qualified Guyanese staff; and the lack of timely government approval of investment programs and of the appointment of key Guyanese staff.
In December 2007 the government approved a Turnaround Plan for GWI, focusing on reducing non-revenue water and financially consolidating the utility.
Responsibility for sector policy is vested in the Ministry of Housing and Water. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), a multi-sectoral regulatory body, is in charge of reviewing water and sewer tariffs. However, the PUC seems to be less autonomous from government than other utility regulators in the Caribbean.Local government plays no role in the sector.
Water and sewerage service provision is the responsibility of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), a commercial public enterprise. GWI's service area is divided into five divisions along the Coast, numbered 1-5 from West to East. The Hinterland is served by a separate unit within GWI which provides support to community-based organizations that provide services in that part of the country.
An estimation of non-revenue water is difficult, since only 25% of consumers were metered in 2007. Nevertheless, GWI tentatively estimates non-revenue water at more than 70%.
Labor productivity in GWI is relatively high with a ratio of 3 staff per 1,000 connections in 2007. This is partly due to the contracting out of services such as leak repairs.
The national water utility uses a highly complex tariff system. It does not recover operation and maintenance costs, and receives operational subsidies from the government. Investments are financed through external assistance and investment subsidies from the government.
The tariff system used by GWI is highly complex, consisting of 27 different water tariffs and 4 sewer tariffs in 2007. Water tariffs are differentiated between metered and un-metered customers; domestic, commercial, institutional and industrial customers; whether customers are former customers of GUYWA (outside the capital) or GS & WC (in Georgetown); and the rateable value of properties in the case of domestic customers.
In 2007 most domestic customers were categorized in the lowest category of rateable property value and were unmetered. Outside Georgetown these customers were charged a flat rate of 8,899 Guyanese dollar (US$47) per year, equivalent to US$3.90 per month. In Georgetown they were charged a flat rate of 11,799 Guyanese dollar (US$62), equivalent to US$5.18 per month. Domestic customers in high rateable properties paid about 80% more.
Metered tariffs for domestic customers in the lowest category of rateable property value are set at 61 Guyanese dollar per cubic meter (US$0.32/m3) outside Georgetown and 63 Guyanese dollar per cubic meter (US$0.33/m3) in Georgetown. At a consumption of 20 cubic meters per month (133 liters/capita/day for a family of five) that tariff would be equivalent to an increase of the water bill of 64% for customers outside Georgetown and 28% for customers in Georgetown compared to the currently prevailing flat rate for undeterred customers.
Sewer tariffs for domestic unmetered customers are set at 4,999 Guyanese dollars per year (US$26), or 42% of the water bill or a low rateable domestic customer in Georgetown.
GWI plans to rationalize its tariff system. Any modification in tariffs needs to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission. In addition, due to the political sensitivity of water tariffs, any modification de facto also needs to be approved by Cabinet.
The billing cycle for unmetered customers is annual and most users, including many with water meters, are so far billed a flat rate only. Bills for metered customers whose meters are being read are sent out on a quarterly basis. The level of cost recovery is low. According to GWI's Turnaround Plan, the utility's average billing efficiency in the 2003-2006 period was only 68%, meaning that 32% of its customers did not pay their bills. In 2006 GWI collected revenues of only G$1.2 billion, while operation and maintenance costs stood at G$3.5 billion, including more than 60% paid for electricity, mainly for pumping. The difference was partly made up by a government subsidy of G$1.4 billion, and partly resulted in unpaid bills to GWI's suppliers and deferred maintenance.
Past investment levels were low and investments were predominantly financed by external donors. The utility now intends to increase its investments to US$21.2 million in the 2008-2010 period, equivalent to US$7 million per year or US$9/capita/year. The investments are intended to be used primarily to reduce non-revenue water and to rehabilitate the sewerage system in Georgetown. US$6.4 million (30%) of the investment program is being funded from existing commitments from three donors (the World Bank, IDB and DFID). The remainder is expected to be financed by existing government commitments from its own resources, as well as by additional commitments expected from the government and donors.
Currently the main external partners for the sector are the Inter-American Development Bank, DFID from the UK and the World Bank. The European Union, the Caribbean Development Bank and the government of Japan through JICA. In the past USAID was also involved in supporting water supply in Guyana, particularly in the coastal area outside of Georgetown.
The Georgetown II Water Supply & Sewer System Program was a US$30m project approved in 1999 that aimed "to improve sanitary conditions in Georgetown and reduce current levels of environmental degradation by improving the quality of the water supply and sewerage services". The three program components were: (a) further improving the availability and quality of potable water and the reliability of the distribution system; (b) improving the sewerage system; and (c) strengthening the Georgetown Sewerage and Water Commissioners (GS&WC), the service provider for Georgetown at the time of the project's approval and one of the two predecessors of GWI. After a cancellation of part of the funding as part of a debt relief package for Guyana, the size of the project was reduced to US$16.4 million. The project closed in 2010 after achieving only some of its objectives: Water pressure increased from 2 pound per square inch (psi) to 6 psi, short of the target of 10psi; the iron content of drinking water declined after two water treatment plants were commissioned in 2010; non-revenue water apparently declined, although exact numbers are not available; sewage pumps stations were built, but it is too early to determine if they will be properly operated and maintained; a septic tank disposal facility has been built, but was not operational; water metering in Georgetown was increased to 50%, short of the target of 80%; and no significant improvements were reached in terms of collection efficiency and cost recovery. The IDB is preparing two new water and sanitation projects in Guyana, a US$10million Georgetown sanitation improvement project and a US$12m+ project to rehabilitate the water system of Guyana's second largest town, Linden.
The UK approved a 13 million Pound Sterling water sector program in 2000, aiming at "providing sustainable universal access to safe and affordable water, focusing on peri-urban and rural areas, secondary towns and the Guyana hinterland." The introduction of private sector participation through a performance based management contract was considered "a key feature of the process" and "a critical success factor in achieving the overall project goal". The project also aimed at creating a single service provider, GWI. The project closed in 2009, the creation of GWI having been achieved, but the management contract having failed. No project completion report was available on DFID's website as of May 2011.
The Water Sector Consolidation Project is a US$12.3m project approved in 2005 that "aims to support the achievement of sustainable universal access to safe and affordable water for the population of Guyana, especially the poor." The project's main component foresees the construction of water treatment plants and associated transmission and distribution infrastructure, including metering, in three systems: Anna Regina area water supply system in Division 1 of GWI; Parika area water supply system in Division 2; and Rosignol area water supply system in Division 4. These investments are expected to provide a continuous supply of iron-free water under good pressure, as opposed to the current level of supply which consists of intermittent supply of water with a high iron content at mostly low pressure.
The European Union finances a water, sanitation and hygiene program for Hinterland communities implemented by the Guyana Red Cross Society with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The 3-year program is being implemented in Regions 1 and 9.
The Caribbean Development Bank provides funding for small-scale water infrastructure through the Basic Needs Trust Fund.
The Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), provided a grant of US$12m to finance the construction of two water treatment plants and associated pipes in the Corriverton area on the coast near the border with Suriname. The project aims to provide water to 33,000 residents in over 23 villages. The first of the two plants was inaugurated in March 2008.
Water supply is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavors or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes. Aspects of service quality include: Continuity of supply, water quality and water pressure. The institutional responsibility for water supply is arranged differently in different countries and regions. It usually includes issues surrounding policy and regulation, service provision and standardization.
Uruguay is the only country in Latin America that has achieved quasi-universal coverage of access to safe drinking water supply and adequate sanitation. Water service quality is considered good, with practically all localities in Uruguay receiving disinfected water on a continuous basis. 70% of wastewater collected by the national utility was treated. Given these achievements, the government's priority is to improve the efficiency of services and to expand access to sewerage, where appropriate, in areas where on-site sanitation is used.
Access to at least basic water increased from 94% to 97% between 2000 and 2015; an increase in access to at least basic sanitation from 73% to 86% in the same period;
Drinking water and sanitation in Nicaragua are provided by a national public utility in urban areas and water committees in rural areas. Despite relatively high levels of investment, access to drinking water in urban areas has barely kept up with population growth, access to urban sanitation has actually declined and service quality remains poor. However, a substantial increase in access to water supply and sanitation has been reached in rural areas.
Costa Rica has made significant progress in the past decade in expanding access to water supply and sanitation, but the sector faces key challenges in low sanitation connections, poor service quality, and low cost recovery.
The Dominican Republic has achieved impressive increases in access to water supply and sanitation over the past two decades. However, the quality of water supply and sanitation services remains poor, despite the country's high economic growth during the 1990s.
Water supply and sanitation in Indonesia is characterized by poor levels of access and service quality. Almost 30 million people lack access to an improved water source and more than 70 million of the country's 264 million population has no access to improved sanitation. Only about 2% of people have access to sewerage in urban areas; this is one of the lowest in the world among middle-income countries. Water pollution is widespread on Bali and Java. Women in Jakarta report spending US$11 per month on boiling water, implying a significant burden for the poor.
The water supply and sanitation in India has increased greatly from 1980 to present. Still, many people lack access to clean water, toilets, and sewage infrastructure. Various government programs at national, state, and community level have brought rapid improvements in sanitation and the drinking water supply. Some of these programs are ongoing.
Water supply and sanitation in Jamaica is characterized by high levels of access to an improved water source, while access to adequate sanitation stands at only 80%. This situation affects especially the poor, including the urban poor many of which live in the country's over 595 unplanned squatter settlements in unhealthy and unsanitary environments with a high risk of waterborne disease. Despite a number of policy papers that were mainly focused on water supply and despite various projects funded by external donors, increases in access have remained limited.
Water supply and sanitation in Saudi Arabia is characterized by challenges and achievements. One of the main challenges is water scarcity. In order to overcome water scarcity, substantial investments have been undertaken in seawater desalination, water distribution, sewerage and wastewater treatment. Today about 50% of drinking water comes from desalination, 40% from the mining of non-renewable groundwater and only 10% from surface water in the mountainous southwest of the country. The capital Riyadh, located in the heart of the country, is supplied with desalinated water pumped from the Persian Gulf over a distance of 467 km. Water is provided almost for free to residential users. Despite improvements, service quality remains poor, for example in terms of continuity of supply. Another challenge is weak institutional capacity and governance, reflecting general characteristics of the public sector in Saudi Arabia. Among the achievements is a significant increase in desalination, and in access to water, the expansion of wastewater treatment, as well as the use of treated effluent for the irrigation of urban green spaces, and for agriculture.
Water supply and sanitation in Yemen is characterized by many challenges as well as some achievements. A key challenge is severe water scarcity, especially in the Highlands, prompting The Times of London to write "Yemen could become the first nation to run out of water". A second key challenge is a high level of poverty, making it very difficult to recover the costs of service provision. Access to water supply sanitation in Yemen is as low or even lower than that in many sub-Saharan African countries. Yemen is both the poorest country and the most water-scarce country in the Arab world. Third, the capacity of sector institutions to plan, build, operate and maintain infrastructure remains limited. Last but not least the security situation makes it even more difficult to improve or even maintain existing levels of service.
In 1993, the country's groundwater, the source of drinking water for 97% of the rural population and a significant share of the urban population, was contaminated with arsenic. However, in 2004, 98.5% of the population already has access to an improved water source, a very high level for a low-income country. This has been achieved through the construction of hand pumps with the support of external donors.
Public water supply and sanitation in England and Wales has been characterised by universal access and generally good service quality. Salient features of the sector in the United Kingdom compared to other developed countries is the full privatisation of service provision and the pioneering of independent economic regulation in the sector in Europe. There has been a substantial increase in real tariffs between 1989 and 2005, whilst independent assessments place the cost of water provision in the UK as higher than most other major countries in the EU. The government body responsible for water regulation, together with the water companies, have claimed improvements in service quality during the same period.
Water supply and sanitation in Senegal is characterized by a relatively high level of access compared to the average of Sub-Saharan Africa. One of the interesting features is a public-private partnership (PPP) that has been operating in Senegal since 1996, with Senegalaise des Eaux (SDE), a subsidiary of Saur International, as the private partner. It does not own the water system but manages it on a 10-year lease contract with the Senegalese government. Between 1996 and 2014, water sales doubled to 131 million cubic meters per year and the number of household connections increased by 165% to more than 638,000. According to the World Bank, "the Senegal case is regarded as a model of public-private partnership in sub-Saharan Africa". Another interesting feature is the existence of a national sanitation company in charge of sewerage, wastewater treatment and stormwater drainage, which has been modeled on the example of the national sanitation company of Tunisia and is unique in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Drinking water supply and sanitation in Egypt is characterized by both achievements and challenges. Among the achievements are an increase of piped water supply between 1998 and 2006 from 89% to 100% in urban areas and from 39% to 93% in rural areas despite rapid population growth; the elimination of open defecation in rural areas during the same period; and in general a relatively high level of investment in infrastructure. Access to an at least basic water source in Egypt is now practically universal with a rate of 98%. On the institutional side, the regulation and service provision have been separated to some extent through the creation of a national Holding Company for Water and Wastewater in 2004, and of an economic regulator, the Egyptian Water Regulatory Agency (EWRA), in 2006.
Water supply and sanitation in Morocco is provided by a wide array of utilities. They range from private companies in the largest city, Casablanca, the capital, Rabat, Tangier, and Tetouan, to public municipal utilities in 13 other cities, as well as a national electricity and water company (ONEE). The latter is in charge of bulk water supply to the aforementioned utilities, water distribution in about 500 small towns, as well as sewerage and wastewater treatment in 60 of these towns.
Water supply and sanitation in Turkey is characterized by achievements and challenges. Over the past decades access to drinking water has become almost universal and access to adequate sanitation has also increased substantially. Autonomous utilities have been created in the 16 metropolitan cities of Turkey and cost recovery has been increased, thus providing the basis for the sustainability of service provision. Intermittent supply, which was common in many cities, has become less frequent. In 2004, 61% of the wastewater collected through sewers was being treated. In 2020 77% of water was used by agriculture, 10% by households and the rest by industry.
Responsibility of water supply in Nigeria is shared between three levels of government – federal, state and local. The federal government is in charge of water resources management; state governments have the primary responsibility for urban water supply; and local governments together with communities are responsible for rural water supply. The responsibility for sanitation is not clearly defined.
Water supply and sanitation in Vietnam is characterized by challenges and achievements. Among the achievements is a substantial increase in access to water supply and sanitation between 1990 and 2010, nearly universal metering, and increased investment in wastewater treatment since 2007. Among the challenges are continued widespread water pollution, poor service quality, low access to improved sanitation in rural areas, poor sustainability of rural water systems, insufficient cost recovery for urban sanitation, and the declining availability of foreign grant and soft loan funding as the Vietnamese economy grows and donors shift to loan financing. The government also promotes increased cost recovery through tariff revenues and has created autonomous water utilities at the provincial level, but the policy has had mixed success as tariff levels remain low and some utilities have engaged in activities outside their mandate.
Water supply and sanitation in Georgia is characterized by achievements and challenges. Among the achievements is the improvement of water services in the capital Tbilisi where the water supply is now continuous and of good quality, major improvements in the country's third-largest city Batumi on the Black Sea where the country's first modern wastewater treatment plant now is under operation, as well as a general increase in access to drinking water in the entire country. Water and sewer tariffs remain affordable, with the private water company Georgian Water and Power (GWP) serving the capital being financially viable and profitable, while the public water company serving most of the rest of the country remains financially weak. The improvements were achieved after the Rose Revolution of 2004 when the government decided to reform the sector and to invest in it after many years of neglect.