GWP-C and Partner GWI Focus on Building Climate Resilience in Indigenous Communities in Rural Guyana

In February, the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) in collaboration with the High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) {with support from the Government of Japan and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies} hosted a virtual consultation. The Caribbean workshop explored ten (10) Principles developed by HELP, which provides practical insights on how country leaders can address water-related disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coming out of that consultation, there was an opportunity for one of GWP-C’s participating Partners to access grant funding to prepare a proposal on water-related disasters. Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI)  is the partner that received the technical assistance and support to develop the proposal.

In light of this, a proposal has been developed by GWP-C and the GWI for a project on “Disaster Risk Management for the Water Sector in Indigenous Communities in Rural Guyana.” There are eleven (11) targeted communities within the Upper Takatu Basin (Region 9) within the proposed project. At its core, the initiative aims to build resilience of indigenous communities to water-related disasters, through identification of and improved access to reliable sources of potable water.

Virtual Consultation on Disaster Risk Management for the Water Sector in the Upper Takatu Basin (Region 9) of Guyana

A virtual Consultation hosted by the GWI in collaboration with GWP-C was held on July 27th, 2021 to discuss and gain insights from stakeholders in Guyana on the proposal. The event also sought to foster exchanges among decision-makers, experts, and donor agencies on how the project can improve, as well as co-financing opportunities.

Key to the Consultation was the presentation of the proposal to stakeholders. Ms. Martina Duncan (GWP-C Consultant) gave an overview of the project, its components and its expected results. Ms. Duncan shared that overall, the project aims to address the following key problems:

  • Increased frequency of droughts, depleted water levels in rivers, creeks, ponds, springs and wells in riparian and hinterland regions to the extent that they dry up/shrink in size.
  • Water supply in the selected indigenous communities cover only a small portion of the community.
  • Undefined properties of the Upper Takatu Aquifer.

With its anticipated results being as follows:

  • 5118 persons (2595 males and 2523 females) in 11 communities within the Upper Takatu aquifer basin with improved access to water.
  • Water storage capacity increased by 285m3.
  • 52 persons (communities, GWI) trained in climate change and DRM principles and techniques in relation to community managed water systems.
  • 300Kwh solar energy capacity installed (30kwh per community).

Following the presentation of the project proposal, stakeholders were able to provide valuable inputs and insights on the project which will be considered by the Consultant and GWI. Below are some of the participants views on the proposal during one of the consultation’s interactive polls:

The Consultation also featured various presenters and speakers who reiterated the importance and value of the project.

Ms. Denise Woolford, GWI’s Manager of Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation in her opening remarks stated that disaster risks due to climate change in indigenous communities within the hinterland regions, is a daily reality that threatens their lives and way of life. According to her “these communities specifically within administrative region 9, have been described as particularly vulnerable to climate change, because of high levels of exposure and sensitivity to climate risks and limited capacity to adapt.”

She indicated that the project in the proposed concept note would be managed by the GWI and builds on approved concepts and a consultative community led approach. One that uses an integrated design to implement community specific climate resilient water solutions.

Ms. Simone Lewis, GWP-C’s Regional Coordinator also gave opening remarks at the event. She shared a concise overview of GWP-C and its focus of supporting Caribbean countries in the sustainable development and management of their water resources. Ms. Lewis provided background to stakeholders on the GWP-C and HELP Consultation held in February on Principles developed by HELP to address water-related DRR in the Covid-19 pandemic.