Despite last week’s promises that the new Fort James Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant would be operational and serving neighbouring communities by this week, the Gaston Browne Administration has not met its deadline to improve water production.
Area residents tell REAL News the water situation is the same, with pipe-borne water having run for less than an hour on Wednesday – and at low pressure.
During the Labour Day celebrations in May, PM Browne told supporters that an additional two million gallons of water per day would be produced after the arrival of membranes ordered by the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA).
However, Senator Damani Tabor says that production levels have not increased.
Browne had also promised that the Fort James plant would be operational by June. However, in a recent Cabinet Note, it was revealed that the ship carrying the plant had encountered difficulties and delivery was therefore delayed by several weeks.
By September, another plant – adding three million gallons of water per day to the schedule and ensuring water sustainability – was also promised.
However, Tabor, the United Progressive Party’s Public Relations Officer, notes that the Fort James plant was not commissioned in the time stated and the additional three million gallons promised by this month are nonexistent.
Tabor is asking the Nation to remember the promises made and to hold the Browne Administration accountable.
Meanwhile, this week’s Cabinet Notes claim that Sir Robin Yearwood, Minister of Public Utilities, has indicated that the Fort James plant is nearing completion.
It is designed to produce one million gallons of potable water daily; but, in the first phase, it will produce 500,000 gallons a day, becoming fully productive in short order.
Sir Robin says the pipes to take the water to neighbouring communities – Yorks, Fort Road, Villa, Point, the City of St. John’s, and the Heritage Quay piers – and other surrounding areas are already being laid underground.
The Minister says the surface of the road leading to and from Fort James has been significantly compromised and will therefore require repaving when the laying of pipes is complete.
According to the Notes, Yearwood says significant portions of the Bethesda Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant have been shipped from Dubai, and plans for its operation are proceeding. These include the construction of the foundation of the building to house the works.
Resources for the purchase of the plant have been secured, and nearly all payments have been made to the supplier, the Notes claim.
In the meantime, two storage tanks, each capable of holding 350,000 gallons of potable water, will also be fabricated, and the bases of these have been constructed, the Administration says.
Reportedly, APUA is currently providing seven million gallons of potable water daily, and that output is expected to rise to 11 million gallons a day in a few months.