Considering the severity of the ongoing drought on the island and throughout the region, The Executive Council would like to update the population about what they have been doing to address the water situation on the island. The Executive Council has been closely monitoring the situation for some time. The Council has decided on both short term and long term measures to alleviate the burden that the lack of regular significant rainfall creates for the residents of the island.
One measure, The Executive Council is preparing, is a policy which will help reduce the cost price of water to the consumer, by implementing an emergency subsidy for as long as the drought continues. Funding for this policy is out of monies which were allocated for water projects that are financed by the Dutch Government. This policy is expected to be completed and implemented within two weeks. For low income households there are also special relief funds that are available through the Ministry of Social Affairs which provides persons who qualify, with potable water at no cost. Persons who qualify should contact the Department of Social Affairs for more information.
The Department of Public Works recently completed a survey on water levels in all government cisterns and will continue to do this until the drought is over. The Council also has regular contact with the two water plant operators who have been keeping up with the demand for water throughout the duration of the drought and have been cooperating in providing their production output figures to the government.
The Executive Council is planning a communication campaign to inform the public about the subsidy, as well as to advise the public on water usage.
For the future, increased water storage is the main priority. Some projects are already underway. Currently, there is an ongoing project in Windwardside which includes the construction of a grey water cistern. This project will be completed before the end of the year. This cistern once completed, will hold approximately 125,000 gallons of grey water.
In addition, the Executive Council has also secured funding to install water pipes from the Fort Bay to The Bottom. The installation of these pipes and the requisite pumps will be done during the repaving of the Fort Bay Road. These pipes will allow for potable water to be pumped from the harbor to the large cistern situated in The Range.
Another element of this project entails the construction of two additional cisterns below the new SEC building along the Fort Bay road. Each cistern will hold approximately 75,000 gallons. The cistern at the new school building, which will be constructed in St. Johns, will also be expanded in order to increase water storage capacity.
With these projects, water storage will be increased significantly. This will allow for the water producers to continue water production even when there is significant rainfall. This will mitigate some of the problems created during severe droughts. The Executive Council will also continue pursuing initiatives to increase water storage when funding becomes available and there is available land to build additional cisterns.
In the meantime, the Executive Council urges the population to conserve water as much as possible.
Press release GIS Saba