Water Loan Deal

By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter cnixon@tribunemedia.net GOVERNMENT yesterday put forward a multi-million dollar loan resolution to facilitate much-needed overhauls and upgrades to water and sewage infrastructure. Minister for the Environment Earl Deveaux opened the debate in parliament on the resolution to borrow $81 million from the Inter-American Development Bank to provide for an enhanced water programme for the country. He said there is an "urgent need to improve the infrastructure and put in place the necessary provisions for adequate levels of service. "The approved $81 million loan to the Bahamas government will permit us to measurably address these continuing challenges at WSC". The overall goals of the water supply and sanitation systems upgrade is to improve the efficiency of service and quality of potable water, address immediate sanitation problems and facilitate the design and implementation of economic and environmental regulations for the production and delivery of potable water, Mr Deveaux said. The majority of the loan will be directed at reducing the non-revenue water ($49 million); rehabilitating sewer plant infrastructure and designing a master plan for waste water treatment ($15.5 million), said Mr Deveaux. A further $5.5 million will be allocated for the institutional strengthening of the Water and Sewerage Corporation to improve staff productivity and customer service, he said. Following this, Mr Deveaux said, the government intends to relinquish it's regulatory role in water and sanitation, with future tariff increases falling under URCA's responsibility. Additionally, $3 million will be allocated for the establishment of a new independent environment regulator. "In order for the water and sanitation sector to develop and function at the level that we all expect, an appropriate framework is required to administer economic and environmental regulation," said Mr Deveaux.


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