Guyana is the only one of the participating CARIWIN countries that is not an island. It is located in the northern part of South America; it has an Atlantic coastline and it bordered by Suriname, Brazil, and Venezuela. It has an area of 214 970 km2.


Guyana is a sparsely populated country compared to its size, with a population of 800,000 (51% of which is female). Most of the popuation is concentrated in the coastal plain. In 1998, Guyana’s poverty level was estimated at 35%, and is highest among women and female-headed households (which account for 30% of all households). The Guyanese Amerindians, which make up 6.4% of the total population, are some of the poorest people in the country.

Water resources and its administration

During the year, Guyana receives 2 387 mm of rain. It is one of the nations in the world where there is virtually no population pressure on natural resources. The word Guyana is an Amerindian term for “Land of the Water”, and so water resources are abundant and include many rivers, three aquifers, and surface waters. The table below from the FAO's AQUASTAT features the characteristics of the main river basins in Guyana. The total water withdrawal per capita between 1998 - 2002 was 2 147 m3/person/year.

Drainage Basin


Surface Area (km2)

Discharge (km3/year)

Specific discharge (m3/s/km2)



66 600




14 000




53 500




Great Falls

2 460





5 100



Administratively, Guyana is divided into ten regions. The Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) provides water supply services to most of the country, while the National Drainage and Irrigation Board (NDIB) has the overall responsibility for drainage and irrigation in Guyana.

Although water resources are abundant in the nation, the Guyana National Development Strategy 2001-2010 has identified many problems related to water sector management: the need for input from farmers in planning and monitoring; the lack of, or deteriorating infrastructure; the need for public input on environmental issues; and the need to increase potable water supply in rural areas. While 60% of households have round-the-clock access to safe water, access for rural communities, particularly remote Amerindian ones, remains a challenge.

National collaborating agencies

No. Agency Abbr. Role(s)
9 Human Affairs Bureau HAB Community Development
1 Hydreomet Service, Ministry of Agr. Hydromet Lead Partner
2 Ministry of Agriculture Min-Agr Lead Ministry
3 Ministry of Amerindian Affairs Min-AA Community Involvement
4 Ministry of Education Min-Ed Awareness Program
5 Guyana Water Inc. GWI Training, Technical
6 National Drainage and Irrigation Authority NDIA Training, Technical
7 Environmental Protection Agency EPA Policy Issues
8 University of Guyana UG Training, Technical
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