REMARKS BY MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND WORKS
HONOURABLE MARK VANTERPOOL
AT THE NINTH SITTING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE
THIRD HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 2016
Water Improvements In The Territory
Madam Speaker, The Ministry of Communications and Works has embarked on an aggressive program to provide the residents of the Virgin Islands with a more reliable, sustainable and consistent potable water supply. We started with first assessing all existing water assets and resources, to develop a comprehensive action plan to achieve this goal. Currently there are a number of projects geared towards improving the potable water infrastructure in the Territory.
East End Optimization – Phase I
Madam Speaker, The Ministry and the Department were able to complete the first phase of the East End system balancing programme. This has allowed us to improve the supply of water to the Balsam Ghut Reservoir therefore allowing the Balsam Ghut prison and surrounding areas to receive a steady water supply. Phase 2 is forthcoming and would enable us to better manage the pressures in the East End, Long look and Greenland areas thereby reducing the frequency of pipe breakages.
Sabbath Hill to Hannah Hill Water Transmission
Madam Speaker, as a result of the upgrading of the Diamond pump station late last year, we have been able to maintain higher levels at the Hannah Hill reservoir. Other areas also benefitted from the upgrade such as McNamara, Cane Garden Bay and Fahie Hill which now experience a more sustained water supply.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry and Department are now pursuing another phase of this initiative this year to improve the flow of water over the Ridge Road, by installing another booster pump station in the Long Trench area.
At the moment the Diamond pump station is running at 50% of its maximum output because of pressure limitations in the area. We expect that this venture will allow us to double the output from the station and increase the flow to the Hannah Hill reservoir thereby improving the supply of water into Sea Cows Bay/Pleasant Valley and other areas in the West.
Designs are also being carried out to improve water sustainability in the Thread Fall and Mt. Sage areas to be implemented in the upcoming months.
West End Water Supply
Madam Speaker, in an effort to move more water to the West End of Tortola, we have made an agreement with BVIEC to allow us to use the existing 700,000 Gallon potable water storage reservoir located at Pockwood Pond. However, the tank was constructed in 1995 and is in need of some repairs.
The Ministry has engaged the manufacturer and has received a quote to undertake the necessary repairs. When the repairs have been completed we would be able to improve the supply of water to the West via Cox Heath.
In the meantime, other measures have been taken to increase water supply to the West. The Ministry has engaged Aqua Design to increase production at the Capoons Bay Plant. Aqua Design has already upgraded the production capacity and we are now in the final stages of commissioning and expect a production increase of 200 thousand imperial gallons in the upcoming weeks.
Virgin Gorda Water Improvements
Madam Speaker, The Ministry and the Department have responded to the water supply concerns in Virgin Gorda and currently, in Handsome Bay, plant production has been increased from just over 200 to more than 400 thousand imperial gallons per day to meet the water demands. An upgrade to the Valley main pump station is also planned for this year.
We have also engaged the water vendor to increase the water production in North Sound from 50 thousand imperial gallons per day to 200 thousand imperial gallons per day.
In addition, plans are in the making to increase the size of the reservoir in the North Sound area. The implementation of said projects would greatly improve potable water availability and sustainability in those areas.
Madam Speaker, aggressive efforts have been made to improve water accountability in the Territory. Our leak detection programme is ongoing. Over the past 12 months we have recovered over 1.8 million imperial gallons per day in losses affording us the capability for system expansion.
In an effort to improve the accountability for water and increase revenue, the Ministry and the Department have embarked on a pilot project which has introduced new metering technology to the Territory. Early this year, we purchased 200 meters which offer the latest in metering innovation. These meters are able to withstand high water pressures, and they can be read remotely.
Madam Speaker, based on the success of this pilot initiative, we plan to extend it to the rest of the Territory. This venture would improve the billing process and reduce the chance of human error during meter reading.
Madam Speaker, except for times of power interruptions, potable water production in the territory has been fairly consistent. However, upon completion of BVIEC’s ongoing infrastructural upgrades, the consistency of the water supply would further increase. The Desalination Plant at Paraquita Bay has a production capacity of 2.3 million imperial gallons per day whereas, Bar Bay has the capability of producing 580 thousand imperial gallons per day. In addition, the Government-owned plant at Baughers Bay stands ready to produce 850 thousand imperial gallons per day, when required. Upgrades have been undertaken to improve production in many areas such as Capoons Bay and The Valley and more upgrades are anticipated for the near future.
Madam Speaker, the water distribution system upgrade is a challenging one and a costly one, but we will not be deterred. The Ministry and Department are urgently pursing our goal to be able to provide water to 95% of the residence in a consistent 24-hour basis in the not too distant future.
Madam Speaker, we still encourage residents experiencing water interruption to please call the Department hotline.
Thank you Madam Speaker.