Government of the Bahamas

03/16/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/16/2021 11:23

Water Corporation breaks ground for potable water in Cat Island

CAT ISLAND, The Bahamas - Very soon Cat Island residents will no longer have to harvest rain water or obtain this valuable commodity from private wells, standpipes or water tanks in well fields.

The Water & Sewerage Corporation (WSC) broke ground, Monday, which will bring potable water to Cat Island for the first time.

'Oh Cat Island, it's your time. This is your historic undertaking today,' said WSC

Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson.

'The purpose of this project is to provide you with a safe, sustainable, reliable supply of potable water that meets World Health Organization water standards by all parameters. It will be delivered directly into your homes, on demand any time that you want. You don't have to worry about drawing water from your well or about rationing water from your tanks,' he told the residents.

'We know that wells, stand pipes and all others are subject to changing weather patterns, drought, sea water infiltration, interrupted water supply and poor water quality -- especially when it's a hurricane; we intend to change that.'

The ceremony was held on the grounds of the District Council Office in New Bight. Among those in attendance: Bennett Minnis; board member; Elwood Donaldson, general manager; Cyprian Gibson, assistant general manager, Family Island Division; Donnie Newbold, chief operator; Dale Gelin, administrator; Chris Wilson, Island Site Development Bahamas, Local Government representatives and local community leaders.

Approximately 12 miles of pipe will be installed in the work which is scheduled to be undertaken in two lots within 12 months at a cost of more than $3 million.

They are:

Lot #1: Wilson Bay and Bennet Harbour settlements (120 service connections) 350-feet of 6-inch pipe

10,400 feet of 4-inch pipe 6,100 feet of 2-inch pipe

Lot #2: Douds and Moss Town ending at Old Bight (175 service connections) 3,500 feet of 6-inch pipe

32,500 feet of 4-inch pipe 9,500 feet of 2-inch pipe

The Corporation is presently executing a Water Supply Improvement project which is funded through a $28.3 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and $13.3 million counterpart funding from the Bahamas Government. This initiative includes two projects in New Providence and six Family Islands.

'We are here to fulfill a commitment to deliver potable water to you the people of Cat Island. It's the first ever installation of water mains on the entire island and it is anticipated that these works would spark a boost to your economic outlook and a population growth on the island.

'Cat Island, we are here to lay some 780,000 inches/65,000 feet of pipe and we expect that once done it would reduce the amount of tankering that you now see on this island and it would be the start -- step at a time -- to getting the whole of Cat Island potable water. Today we want to reduce and eventually end your days of toting water from the well.'

Moreover, the Chairman indicated that although the initial project work will only include a fraction of the island, the WSC is committed to expanding the system and providing the entire island with water as far as possible and as future budgets would allow.

He appealed to Island Site Development Bahamas to give local contractors consideration and to also hire as many local residents as possible on this central island.

He highlighted plans which are underway for the construction of two new reverse osmosis plants for Bennett's Harbour in the north and Douds in the south. He said the construction of these plants will be executed under a separate contract.

Mr. Gibson recognized Mr. Newbold, referred to as a one-man-band, for his commitment to providing service in Cat Island, including delivery of water to residents.

He thanked Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works the Hon.

Desmond Bannister for their unwavering support of the Corporation; the CDB for continuous support of projects throughout The Bahamas and the staff of WSC, the Family Islands Division, external engineers and engineers and technicians of the project management unit.

Mr. Gibson assured residents throughout all Family Islands of a safe and reliable water supply. He said the Government is keenly aware of the needs of the Family Islands and is currently formulating plans to address them.

To date, major infrastructural projects have been completed in Long Island, Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, Russell Islands, South Andros, San Salvador, Ragged Island, Abaco, Inagua, Crooked Island, New Providence, Moore's Island, Harbour Island, North Andros and now Cat Island.

Scenes from the ground breaking ceremony at the District Council Office grounds in New Bight, Cat Island, March 15, 2021. WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson gives remarks at the ground breaking ceremony to bring potable water to Cat Island and, at centre, leads the shovel ground-breaking. General Manager, WSC, Elwood Donaldson is also pictured speaking at the ceremonies.