Madam Speaker, as we come to the end of this year 2015, I am pleased to report considerable progress in our Government's efforts to improve the Water and Sewerage Network in the Virgin Islands.
Residents can see tangible results of our efforts as many areas are now getting a more regular supply of water.
In fact. Madam Speaker, over the past several months, most areas in the Central area of Tortola, have been getting a consistent 24-hour supply of water.
In addition, I must continue to remind us that, no longer do we see raw sewerage running in the streets of Greenland and Road Town.
Madam Speaker, in July this year, 2015, the Ministry of Communications and Works declared the National Water and Sewerage Improvement Programme a top priority.
As such, a special project team was established to spearhead the design, planning, coordination, project management and implementation of this programme.
The team was specifically tasked with:
1. Assessing and optimizing the existing Water Distribution System
2. Undertaking a Bulk Metering Exercise
3. Carrying out an extensive Leak Detection and Repair Exercise
4. Determining non-revenue water and system losses
5. Establishing a Reliability Centered Maintenance System (RCM) to facilitate more efficient management and maintenance of Department assets
6. Establishing and adopting standards for the water and waste water sectors
7. Undertaking employee Training & Development
8. Assessing and optimizing the Sewerage Collection and Treatment System in Cane Garden Bay
9. Completing the installation of a Sewerage Collection and Treatment System in East End/Long Look
10. Completing the upgrade of the Sewerage Collection and Treatment System in Road Town, and
11. Improving the financial viability of Water and Sewerage Services by undertaking a review of the current tariff structures and implementation of new rates.
Madam Speaker, the Water and Sewerage Improvement Programme consists of six phases, most of which are bring done concurrently.
During the period November to December 2015, several critical milestones were accomplished, one of them is the commencement of an ongoing leak detection exercise.
So far, this exercise has eliminated a total of six major leaks, which together have resulted in a significant savings in operational expenses and increased pressure, which has allowed water to reach to higher elevated areas.
The period under review also saw the historical commissioning and taking over of two modern state-of-the-art tertiary Sewerage Treatment Plants in Burt Point and Paraquita Bay.
Madam Speaker, October 31st marked the final commissioning of the Sewerage Treatment Plant at Paraquita Bay.
Madam Speaker, due to the fact that the East End Sewerage Collection System does not yet have Lift Stations and Forced Mains, the plant will not be able to receive and treat sewage until the latter part of 2016.
The installation of the effluent discharge and outfall lines from the plant to Brandywine Bay will begin in the first quarter of 2016.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to announce that, as at October 31st, 2015, sewerage in the Road Town basin and its environs, is now being treated at a tertiary level for the first time in the history of the Virgin Islands.
This means that the effluent is now completely treated and safer for the environment, as it is discharged into the ocean.
On Thursday November 12th, Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Communications and Works/Water and Sewerage Department, formally took over this Treatment Plant, through a joint signing of the Taking-over Certificate.
October 31st, 2015 also marked the completion of full commissioning of the Sewerage Treatment Plant, with all sewage from the Road Town Collection System being diverted, via the existing forced mains, to Burt Point.
The final effluent was lab-tested in accordance with the quality requirements in the Water Purchase Agreement and on November 9th, the Ministry signed and accepted the Burt Point Plant as complete.
It was formally taken over on November 12th.
Madam Speaker, as of December 18th, 2015, the installation of the 18” HDPE forced main pipe line in Road Town was almost completed.
Madam Speaker, unfortunately, the works have been delayed due to unforeseen underground conditions, which have rendered the bidirectional drilling method unfeasible in some cases.
The contractor has had to resort to some open trenching and as such, 550 feet of pipe between the Ferry Terminal Taxi Association and the Ferry Terminal car park below Customs, will be completed in January 2016.
The Road Town Pump Station will also be completed and commissioned in January 2016.
Madam Speaker, in October of this year, Government signed a contract with Aqua Designs to supply up to 450,000 gallons of potable water on Virgin Gorda.
This is a 14 year contract with a review after 7 years and entails the refurbishment of the desalination plants at North Sound and Handsome Bay.
The Government will now pay a rate of $12.46 per thousand gallons produced, down from approximately $20.00.
Madam Speaker, the significance of this contract, is:
1) The people of Virgin Gorda will benefit from a 40% increase in water supply and will have water on a consistent basis; and
2) That over the next 14 years, Government will be saving $1.2 million per annum and $17 million dollars over the life of the contract.
On Tortola, we have completed 700 feet of additional 4” pipe in McNamara, which has now provided for a full loop system of McNamara, and as a result, residents of this area are expected to have a 24 hour supply of water at all times.
A Pressure Reducing Valve was also installed to manage the high pressures coming from the Ridge Road.
Madam Speaker, the outcome of this quick-win project was the provision of a more consistent supply of water to the upper McNamara area, which previously experienced prolonged breaks in the water supply.
In addition, through the establishment of a boundary valve in the intersection with the Department of Disaster Management DDM, the Water and Sewerage Department is now in a position to channel water back down to the main distribution line along Waterfront Drive, thereby augmenting the flows and pressures heading westward as far as Sea Cows Bay.
Madam Speaker as part of the National Water and Sewerage Improvement Programme, the project team also completed designs and costings for the Brewers Bay Water Distribution Loop, Hendrington Spring Ghut water mains extension and Havers Water Main Extension.
In 2016, it is expected that a new 8” transmission line will be run from Sabbath Hill Reservoir across the Ridge Road over to Chalwell, also linking in to the Hannah Hill Reservoir via Treadfall.
The pipes and fittings associated with this segment of the project from Sabbath Hill to the Belle Vue Junction, have already been secured and works are expected to commence in early 2016.
Madam Speaker, these and other efforts continue, to ensure that the people of these islands have a reliable supply of potable water and that our Sewerage System is adequate for our growing needs.
Thank you very much Madam Speaker.