It’s difficult for the Surinaamsche Waterleiding Maatschappij (SWM). Before the Council of Ministers Meeting (CoM) even begins, Natural Resources (NH) Minister David Abiamofo declares that the SWM is technically bankrupt. After reviewing the water company’s statistics, the minister made this statement. There is a water deficit in neighboring districts in addition to the interior. Near the Ministry of Natural Resources, in Paramaribo Center, the water issue also exists. Due to a severe water constraint at the ministry, the ministry also had to import water in the prior period or send employees home early.
The Ministry of Justice and Police also faces this problem. The SWM has not made sufficient replacement investments in recent years. This is not only due to the current government, but previous governments have also failed to invest in the water management system of the SWM.
According to the minister, no investments have been made in the SWM for more than 10 years. The SWM is not able to independently finance investments through the sale of water. The government should pay for the investment costs. Or the government must give the company permission to offer water rates in line with the market, Abiamofo says.
It is also politically unpopular to increase water rates. According to the NH CEO, we pay SRD 1 extra per month on our water since the subsidy was phased out. We now pay SRD 12 per cubic meter for 1000 liters of drinking water. And for a bottle of water in the store we pay SRD 12.50, says Abiamofo. According to him, 1 cubic meter of water should cost SRD 41. The subsidy will be reduced by SRD 40 every month until November.
Many well and distribution pumps have failed, which makes it difficult to get enough water from the tap. The backlog in the interior is much greater, says Abiamofo. Due to financing issues, it is not immediately possible to catch up properly. The inland community knows that it must place its Durotanks along the road if they want to have them filled by the SWM. The ministry is doing everything it can to provide the community there with drinking water.
The SWM recently received US$7 million from the government to solve the water problem.