By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Water and Sewerage Corporation is seeking some $15m in additional funding to complete post Hurricane Dorian repairs and critical upgrades to Abaco’s water system.
Adrian Gibson, WSC executive chairman, told reporters the utility provider has spent about $15m to date on water restoration efforts on the island.
However, he said another $15m is needed for the completion of ongoing improvement works on Abaco and added the WSC has already requested extra funding from the government.
“We have been steadily improving water supply in Abaco. Thus far, we have spent some $15m trying to execute various works,” Mr Gibson said during a recent interview.
“While we’ve also spent some $15m thus far, we are going to be in need of additional funding and we’ve requested additional funding from government whether it’s via the IDB or some other facility. We certainly need it.
“We estimate that based from our internal assessment as well as external consultation that it will cost another $15m to get the systems to where it is needs to be and that would supplement what is happening now and certainly once we bring the things that we’re doing now on stream, the water quality will improve.”
This comes amid complaints from residents there about the island’s inconsistent water supply, with some locals lamenting interruption of water services as a daily occurrence.
To this, Mr Gibson said the corporation is doing the best it can to improve water supply and called for Abaco residents to “be a bit more” patient as the company carries out its operations on the island.
He also spoke about several challenges faced by workers in some parts of the island, citing sewer issues and leaking pipes among other problems.
“Unfortunately, because our system was so badly damaged by the storm – I’m talking leaks and broken pipes — we have multiple layers to deal with,” the WSC executive chairman stressed.
“So on one hand, you have the distribution system which is the pipe network which was severely damaged. And on the other hand, you have the storage tanks — they were compromised. What weren’t blown away entirely were damaged and leaking and then you had loss of generation and so on and so we have been gradually trying to put all of those things back in place while operating a patch work system.”
He added: “So, you could imagine trying to service these folks with leaking pipes and leaking tanks and trying to hold the water in and at the same time trying to give good service. But, what we’re doing now though is we’re installing brand new storage tanks — Marsh Harbour for example, a 1.5-million-gallon storage tank is being built there. That will probably be the largest on any island — certainly, triple or quadruple the previous capacity.
“The same thing is happening in Treasure Cay and Grand Cay, etc, and in relative to Green Turtle Cay, we have a situation where the underwater pipeline was possibly compromised so we’re also addressing that.
“We also have some sewer issues where we have the sewer situation in Spring city as well as Treasure Cay has been quite troubling for us…but I want to encourage Abaconians to be a little bit more patient with us. We are trying, we have teams on the ground changing out pipes and laterals to try to get the distribution network up to par and we’re installing these new systems and upgrades from the solar park or farm to storage tanks in order to serve them better.”
Asked when can Abaco residents expect to get some relief, Mr Gibson said certain projects will be completed by next month, but noted that most of the reconstruction activities should be completed within a six to 12-month period.
“You’ll see completion of certain works beginning next month and then gradually, month over month but I’ll say over the next six to twelve months, we should have pretty much a lot of the works that’s now ongoing completed,” he said.