The year 2007 was an exciting one for the Guyana Water Incorporated, (GWI), as the corporation sought to transition to a higher level of efficiency, sustainability and financial
viability. The beginnings of improvements could be detected in spite of the upheavals caused by the transition.
The truncation of the company’s relationship with the management contractor, Severn Trent Water International (STWI) created a management vacuum which was filled by a team of young managers supported by the Board of Directors. The management team was constrained to take action to reassure the donor community as a consequence of an external audit report that made several recommendations for the improvement of the enterprise and threatened the funding of several projects.
Identifying the need for a plan of action that would guide the water and sewerage sector to it’s short, medium and long term goals, the Corporation consulted key GWI officials and stakeholders advocating the need for fundamental reform of the operations of the enterprise. The key elements of the reform were identified as:
- The reduction of Non Revenue Water
- The Improvement of Collections
- The Metering of Customers
- The Rationalized Use of Boreholes and
- The Improvement of Sewerage Disposal
- Improved Customer Service and Public Image
As a result of the consultations the corporation arrived at the instrument named “The Turnaround Plan,” the road map to guide GWI to greater efficiency, sustainability and financial viability. The foci of the Plan are:
- Improved Governance
- Human Resource Development and Institutional Strengthening
- Improved Application of Information Technology
- Improved Financial Management Financial Integrity and
- The Consolidation of Present Operation
The plan placed emphasis on improving the present distribution network by reducing leaks and re-establishing pressure zones, improving the commercial operations of billings and collections and extracting greater efficiencies from pumping systems in the short to medium term.
For the furtherance of the plan a new Board of Directors and a Managing Director with a wealth of experience in the water sector going back to GUYWA, the antecedent of GWI, were appointed in August and September consecutively. These appointments gave a boost to the image and performance of the company.
Though too early there are signs of improvement in the fortunes of the company. The Donor community has expressed greater confidence in the corporation as the recommendations of the audit have been addressed. Suspended funding has been resumed and the Donors including DFID, the EU and IDB have committed funds to support the Turnaround Plan.
The road ahead will not be easy for much works still has to be done to take the corporation to an acceptable level of performance. The customers will develop greater confidence in the corporation as product availability and quality improve and the shareholders will become satisfied as the operating efficiencies improve and capital projects are better managed.
This has been an exciting year for the company but more is yet to come. The corporation will continue pursuit of the goals of the Turnaround Plan and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal that pertains to the universal availability of potable water.
The institutional changes that are consonant with the advancement of the corporation will be pursued assiduously. On behalf of the corporation I should like to express sincerest gratitude to everyone who contributed to the achievements of the corporation in 2007 and look forward to continuing to work together with you for the benefit of the customers and Guyana in the years ahead.
Dr. Cyril Solomon
Chairman, Board of Directors