WATER AND SEWERAGE CLARIFIES ITS RECORD ON EFFORTS IN RAGGED ISLAND
The Water and Sewerage Corporation notes the Article in the Nassau Guardian of 30th May, 2018 (by Travis Cartwright-Carroll highlighting that potable water is being rationed on Ragged Island) and wishes to clarify some key facts. The Corporation is especially concerned that a known agent of a company—one that it is currently in discussions with the Corporation to enter into a long term solution is the prime source of the article—without full disclosure of the same. WSC also notes the Article by Morgan Adderley in the Tribune of same date.
The Corporation is currently in the process of procuring a long term solution for Ragged Island. This effort is being coordinated with the Ministry of Works, NEMA, BPL, and the Central Government, with a view to implementing a sustainable (“green”), long-term solution, inclusive of the consideration a more environmentally friendly site. In the interim two systems are now operable and water is being provided for critical needs.
The community of Duncan Town, Ragged Island was previously supplied with desalinated water under a DBOO (Design, Build, Own, Operate) Contract that was due for renewal. As all are aware, during Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, the original plant, and housing was totally destroyed.
In the aftermath, the existing Contractor (Staniel Cay Yacht Club [SCYC]/Watermakers Inc.) provided an emergency Reverse Osmosis Unit to provide water for critical needs. This temporary plant however only provided a limited supply (700 gallons per day versus 3,000) to the reduced island population, as it was declared uninhabitable by NEMA.
INVITATION TO TENDER
As a part of WSC’s coordinated efforts with Central Government, the Private Sector, and other Stakeholders, WSC invited Public Tenders for full restoration of supplies to the Island on January 2, 2018. The Scope of Works included the provision of all designs, expertise, labour, material, equipment and other necessary services required to Design, Build, Own and Operate a larger 5,000 Imperial Gallon Per Day (IGPD) Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant, and Distribution Pumps in accordance with the Corporation’s Technical and Operational requirements. All Bidders were especially invited to provide sustainable green alternatives, as per the Governments mandate. Eleven companies expressed interest and purchased the bid package.
At the end of the Bidding process, only 2 of 11 companies submitted Bids. The Ragged Island Restoration Association and Watermakers (WM)/Staniel Cay Yacht Club (SCYC), which was the more responsive of the two bidders. However, none of the Bidders provided sustainable or green options. In an effort to explore all options and address concerns, WSC then also held a meeting with all of the Bidders to solicit feedback. SCYC was also determined as the only responsive Bidder; however, they provided a unit rate of $72/kig. Which was considered excessive as WSC sells water on Ragged Island starting at $6.45/thousand gallons. It was agreed that WSC would research and review other options while entering into discussions with WM/SCYC. WSC also continued to coordinate efforts with the Central Government and participated in a coordinated assessment trip on 7th May, 2018.
Moreover, during this period, the Ragged Island Restoration Association lobbied for permission to temporarily install a plant— which was donated by a third party—however, the initial specifications did not meet industry standards for safe water. Subsequently, another plant was sourced by the Association, and upon inspect by WSC engineers, permission was immediately granted with special limiting conditions and strict water quality requirements. SCYC/Watermakers then offered to upgrade its plant from 700 gallons per day to the original 2500 gallons per day as a temporary measure. This option was however not made available to WSC previously.
The Corporation last met with Watermakers/SCYC on Monday, 4th June, 2018 and discussed a number of concerns/matters. The Corporation is therefore concerned that 2 days later, Mr. Myron Lockhart (a current agent/employee of the SCYC), is in the media agitating for increased water supply, when it is known that only basic water supplies are being provided at this time. WSC is coordinating with all stakeholders for a sustainable green solution.
Watermakers/SCYC currently has 13 WSC RO plants within their remit.
In other newspaper articles, WSC observed commentary by another entity which asserted that the Corporation took two (2) months to approve the RO plant, when in fact the original proposal lacked the required specifications and could not be proven to meet the basic standards for water to be consumed by the public. WSC takes seriously its responsibility to provide safe water supplies, as limited quality water, will always be a better option than an abundance of water of an unacceptable quality. The Corporation will not be strong armed, or be forced to negotiate in the media, or under duress.
Notably, WSC has since identified a fully self-contained, solarized RO Plant that we are entering talks to purchase, own and operate (in-house) for locations such as Ragged Island, if current commercial rates remain untenable. WSC’s newly-minted Reverse Osmosis Unit will have carriage of administering contracts and operating certain plants going forward.
The Corporation remains committed to ensuring an immediate, medium and long term solutions for the people of Ragged Island as a matter of priority. We are most appreciative of the patience of the residents.