REMARKS BY MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND WORKS
HONOURABLE MARK VANTERPOOL
AT THE NINTH SITTING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE
THIRD HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 2016
Question And Answers On Water Supply
The Leader of the Opposition and Representative of the Third Electoral District to ask the Honourable Minister for Communications and Works the following questions:
Madam Speaker, could the Minister for Communications and Works please tell this Honourable House what measures are now in place to avoid a repeat of what occurred two weeks ago when the Sea Cows Bay/Pleasant Valley area was out of water from 11:00 a.m. Wednesday 8th, to the morning of Saturday 11th on account of a broken pump?
Madam Speaker, the main pump at Diamond which transfers water across the ridge to the Hannah Hill Reservoir was recently damaged as a result of a major power surge. This resulted in the Water & Sewerage Department’s inability to pump water from Sabbath Hill to the Hannah Hill Reservoir. About the same time Madam Speaker, the Electricity Corporation experienced damage to one of their generators which resulted in load shedding, to include the Paraquita Bay Water Plant. Low water production at the Paraquita Bay Plant resulted in low water storage for distribution throughout the main areas of Tortola, including the Sea Cow’s Bay/Pleasant Valley area.
Madam Speaker, the medium to long-term plans to upgrade the water distribution system throughout the Territory includes providing surge protectors and backup generators to the main pumps. In addition, the completion of BVIEC Phase V Power Development Project by the end of this year is expected to provide sufficient power capacity, to enable consistent production of water at all of the desalination plants throughout the Territory.
Madam Speaker, could the Minister for Communications and Works please tell this Honourable House why the people of Sea Cows Bay, Pleasant Valley, Hannah’s and other areas served by the Hannah Hill Reservoir are still not getting water on a regular basis?
Madam Speaker, despite the inconvenience caused by the lack of water, as described in the answer to Question 1, over the recent months the Water & Sewerage Department advised of relatively consistent water supply in the Sea Cow’s Bay/ Pleasant Valley area. There have been occasional breakages on main pipes which the Water & Sewerage Department have been aggressively attempting to correct. These efforts will continue. Fine-tuning the distribution system continues with the expectancy that a 24-hour supply of water to the area would become a reality by this year’s end.
Madam Speaker, just last week a resident from Gun Greek called to report a severe hardship due to a lack of water, could the Minister for Communications and Works please tell this Honourable House whether the people of Virgin Gorda, specifically North Sound, are getting a regular supply of water?
Madam Speaker, except for the challenge with a main pump in the North Sound area recently, water supply has been relatively consistent. There are occasional pockets of water shortage due to breakages of pipes. However, we endeavor to keep these to a minimum. In the medium term, the Ministry is in discussions with Aqua Design to install additional water capacity in the North Sound area to increase capacity from 50,000 Imperial Gallons per day to 200,000 Imperial Gallons. This upgrade is expected within the next 12 months.
Madam Speaker, at a recent Sitting, I reported my shock at having seen the Water and Sewerage Department staff use a rental for transportation, could the Minister for Communications and Works please tell this Honourable House whether the repair and maintenance crew is still without a vehicle as was the case during the first week of June due to the fact that the rental was returned at the end of May?
Madam Speaker, Water & Sewerage Department expects to have three (3) new vehicles by the end of June and another three (3) vehicles by the end of July, 2016 for their use.