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New Osmosis Plant For Hurricane-Hit Ragged Island

Conditions on Ragged Island in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.

Conditions on Ragged Island in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

OFFICIALS expect to have a recently procured solarised reversed osmosis plant online in Ragged Island by next week, Water and Sewerage Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson has said.

Addressing long-standing water issues on the island, Mr Gibson said the government, through WSC, had put all the pieces in motion necessary for the successful installation of the new reverse osmosis plant by next week.

“… That plant will be installed and the people of Ragged Island’s water issues will be resolved,” he contended in response to questions on the recovery efforts there.

“We have purchased a (reverse osmosis) plant, we expect that plant to be installed sometime this week or early next week, correct. So early next week.”

Ragged Island’s original water plant, which was located in Duncan Town, was destroyed by Hurricane Irma last September.

According to a recent statement from the corporation, an emergency reverse osmosis unit was provided by Watermakers (WM)/Staniel Cay Yacht Club (SCYC), to “provide water for critical needs.”

The temporary plant, according to information obtained from the corporation, could only produce 700 gallons of water per day, as opposed to 3,000 gallons previously required.

Following the passage of Irma, Ragged Island was declared uninhabitable by the government and as a result, the island’s population dwindled.

On January 2, the corporation invited the public to bid for the installation of a new reverse osmosis desalination plant.

Of the 11 companies that expressed interest, two submitted bids— the Restoration Ragged Island Association and Watermakers/SCYC. According to the corporation, the latter was the “more responsive,” though neither “provided sustainable or green options.”

In the weeks following the move, the decision was finalised to procure and install a new, permanent plant.

Mr Gibson yesterday said officials spent “roughly $30,000” on the new plant, but said the price didn’t include installation and other necessary expenses.

“Let’s say roughly $30,000,” he said. “And bringing it in and having it installed will obviously carry man-hours and there will be other expenses associated with it, but up-front cost will be about $30,000.”

Asked about the level of service residents in Ragged Island can expect after the installation of the new plant, Mr Gibson added: “It will be better than before because the plant will have a greater capacity.

“So, with a plant like this one that is going in, Ragged Island could have a population increase and it will not impact our operations.”

The announcement yesterday came in tandem with a clarification on what the corporation is doing with two loans obtained from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) respectively.

With respect to the latter, according to Mr Gibson, WSC in accordance with the regional body, has launched the “most comprehensive” master planning exercise ever conducted in the Family Island.

Referring to the 60 plants the WSC currently manages across 24 islands and cays, Mr Gibson said there remains constant need for expansion and development.

He said the last estimate for such a project pegged expenses around the $80m mark.

Mr Gibson further explained: “The corporation has therefore engaged consultants to design a water supply development strategy for both its service and non-service areas in the Family Islands. This strategy will involve an integrated management approach between WSC and the Ministry of Public Works, the various water sector service industries and the private sector to provide full coverage of water supply in the Family Islands.”

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