─ residents benefit from access to clean, potable waterThe eight artesian wells drilled by the Government of Brazil through the Sixth Battalion Engineering Corps (BET) of the Brazilian Army and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were on Wednesday formally handed over to the Government of Guyana and the eight villages in which they were drilled.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said the project came at a time when the two countries were celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties. He noted that Guyana was susceptible to droughts and floods and the Rupununi was no exception.These floods and droughts have impacts on the lives of residents of these communities and this project has, therefore, been completed and recognised as a significant achievement, the Minister stated.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon related that although challenges were experienced from the commencement of the project, they were overcome throughMinister of State, Joseph Harmon and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson along with residents look on as Aishalton Toshao Michael Thomas tests the water at the newly-commissioned wellcareful planning and multi and inter-agency collaboration and cooperation.Moreover, Harmon said every stakeholder must be proud of the achievement, noting that “the world can see how as neighbours we can collaborate to provide a better life for our citizens. There were soldiers in this project, but they weren’t fighting, they were collaborating to provide potable water to our citizens and it goes to show that there are other functions of the Army.”Also speaking at the ceremony, Brazilian Ambassador to Guyana, Lineu Pupo de Paula, who was visibly emotional, said he was pleased to see such an important project completed while noting the benefits to be accrued by residents of the nine communities.“I think this is the most important celebration of the 50th anniversary of our bilateral ties. I congratulate the officers and soldiers. We are friends, we are brothers and we are neighbours,” he said.Civil Defence Commission (CDC) Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said Guyana has embraced the concept of comprehensive disaster risk management while pointing to climate change and the effects thereof.However, Regional Chairman Brian Allicock thanked the Governments of Guyana and Brazil for the work done on the wells, noting that the nine wells would provide significant relief to the residents of the South Rupununi.The well in Aishalton is 80 metres deep with a flow rate of 5000 litres per hour; Karaudarnau’s is 80 metres deep with a flow rate of 4500 litres per hour, Awarewaunau’s has been drilled to 100 metres with a flow rate of 4000 litres per hour and Chukrikednau’s was drilled to 80 metres deep and boasts of a flow rate of 6000 litres per hour.The Maruranau well was also drilled to a depth of 80 metres and has a flow rate of 3500 litres per hour, Shea’s was drilled to a depth of 100 metres and has a 4000 litres per hour flow rate while Achiwuib’s is 60 metres deep with a flow rate of 6000 litres per hour and Bashaidrun’s was drilled to 80 metres deep with a flow rate of 6000 litres per hour.Aside from the drilling and setting up of the wells, the road network in the South Rupununi as well as capacity building of members of the GDF, Guyana Water Inc, Hydrometereological Office and officials from the communities were also improved through the project.The project followed President David Granger’s State visit to Brazil in December 2017, where the Complementary Agreement to the Basic Agreement on Technical Cooperation between the Governments of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Federative Republic of Brazil for the Implementation of the Project Technologies to Reduce the Effects of the Drought in Region Nine was inked.