THE Guyana Wastewater Revolving Fund (GWRF) has now officially engaged its First Generation Project with Ashmins Fun Park and Resorts (Splashmins and Madewini Villas) being the first private-sector company to access financing to construct a wastewater treatment plant. The agreement signed between the Ministry of Communities and Ashmins Fun Park and Resorts is valued at US$300,000.
According to a press statement, this project will see 100 percent of wastewater generated by the company being treated to acceptable standards as outlined in the provisions of the LBS Protocol before being discharged into the environment.
The wastewater treatment plant will be constructed to treat 139,000 litres of wastewater daily. The plant will be used to divert and treat all wastewater generated on both the Splashmins Fun Park and Resort and Madewini Villas. Treated wastewater will be re-used for irrigation in vital operations across the sites.
At yesterday’s signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Communities Boardroom, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan congratulated Mr. Lennox John, CEO of Ashmins Fun Park and Resort for his pioneering vision of leading the way for best practices in the private sector, particularly the tourism industry.
As Guyana promotes tourism as part of its economic development, the implementation of international best practices with respect to the protection of the environment must be realised to attract and meet the demands of international tourists, Minister Bulkan indicated.
Therefore, even though Guyana has an abundant supply of water unlike some countries, this precious resource must be used with care. The minister is of the view that there needs to be a new thinking of water being an important commodity. Currently, very little attention is paid in this area although water is a scarce resource. He pointed out that wastewater when treated could be re-used for many purposes, including agriculture.
While this project advances Government’s policy of an Integrated Sustainable Waste Management, which captures both wastewater and solid waste, it has helped Mr. John to achieve one of his dreams of assisting his country.
John related that he wants to be an example for other private-sector companies to follow. He is of the view that this project would improve the standard of his operations and help the environment.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will be assisting with the implementation of this project. IDB Representative Leslie Ann Edwards, said the bank is proud of its partnership with the Government and hopes the project achieves its expected outcomes.
The Guyana Wastewater Revolving Fund is one of four such pilot financing mechanisms (the others are in Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago) and has had measured success in facilitating policy discussions, dialogue, and knowledge exchange regarding wastewater management with key stakeholders in the sector.
In 2010, Guyana committed to prevent the further environmental deterioration of its terrestrial and coastal waters through the signing of the Cartagena Convention and the ratification of its associated protocols.
With assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the GoG entered into an agreement through the Caribbean Regional Fund for Waste Management (CReW) project to tackle its unique wastewater issues.
The Global Environment Facility in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has set up the Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (CReW) dedicated to testing pilot-financing mechanisms that can be used to provide sustainable financing for environmentally sound and cost-effective wastewater management.
Through the CReW intervention, the Guyana Wastewater Revolving Fund valued at US$3M was created, with an additional US$560,000 committed in counterpart funding from the GoG, geared at supporting the efforts of the Government of Guyana in improving wastewater management, with specific focus on public-private partnerships.
Over the long term, this project will assist Guyana to honour the commitments of the LBS Protocol and in the short term raise an awareness of the issues surrounding wastewater management in Guyana. Eventually, from promoting the first- generation projects, and operationalising the revolving fund, it is hoped that the impetus thus created will propel the sector towards an integrated wastewater management approach.