High-lying areas set to see improved water supply within weeks

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Over the course of the next three months, several communities that have been experiencing chronic water shortages are expected to see a major boost in supply.

New Utilities Minister, Melford Nicholas, has directed the Antigua Public Utilities Authority’s (APUA) Water Division to focus on nine projects over the next 90 days – designed to bring stability to the worst-affected areas.

These areas include: Liberta, Seaview Farm and Clarke’s Hill, elevated areas in Jennings and Old Road, and Willikies in the first instance.

Using examples, he explained what consumers can expect from the improvements.

“The managers had presented me with a map the first week that showed that 80 percent of the island can be reached with the current supply of water that we do have, and that those other areas that are hard to reach are in elevated areas, and so, accordingly, the idea behind these mini projects is to work through a project on each of those occasions which addresses those challenges near the computer base.

“So, for example, in the Liberta area, the facility that is now going to be completed, there is a tank that was repaired in the All Saints area where we had to do some modifications to the way the tank is being filled, and once that is completed, we will be able to send water up the hill closer to Liberta.

“There is going to be a subsidiary pump near the Church of Christ which we are putting in, in a few days’ time and that will be able to drive water over the hill. That will be the response that we are putting in place for Liberta,” Nicholas explained.

Meanwhile, the government has also revealed it is putting measures in place to safeguard its utilities production, particularly potable water, from both unavoidable and malicious damage.

In this week’s post-Cabinet report, Nicholas was quoted as saying he has ordered standby uninterrupted power supply at every reverse osmosis plant, to avoid the harm caused to the plants when electricity is lost.

He has also, according to the report, ordered fencing and other improved security measures at each R/O plant in order to discourage “mischief”.

Prior to taking on the utilities portfolio, Nicholas – while speaking as Cabinet spokesperson – had lamented the time it takes to reboot the R/O plants after electricity is lost due to bad weather, with the absence of standby measures deemed a major issue.

The government has also, on occasion, accused unknown persons of maliciously damaging the water production equipment, most times for alleged partisan political reasons.

The opposition United Progressive Party has vigorously objected to those allegations, and has called on the government to provide evidence of its claims.

The government has yet to provide any such evidence.

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