An additional reverse osmosis plant has finally arrived in Antigua – and is tipped to boost local water supplies by 400,000 gallons a day when it becomes fully operational around January.
The Ffryes Beach plant is one of three that the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) announced would come on stream to help maintain a constant supply of water all year round, especially during the dry months.
APUA’s General Manager Esworth Martin told state media he is delighted by the development.
“This is integral to us realising our strategic objective with regard to increased production,” he said.
The project’s manager McClure Simon explained that a number of major upgrades would have to be made to include pumping stations.
He said that they will also have to construct “two additional storage tanks but those tanks are not part of this phase”.
Simon said two tanks may be put in place: one at the Ffryes Beach plant and the other possibly in an elevated area in Bolans.
The latter will “give the authority the capacity to serve a wider area,” he explained.
The project was a US$2 million “gift” from the Japan International Corporation System (JICS) to the Ministry of Agriculture.
APUA is managing the operations of the plant on behalf of the ministry as the body has the requisite expertise, and has to put in a further EC$3.5 million.
Two other plants are expected to come on stream sometime in the future as stated by APUA officials earlier this year.
Those include one at Fort James to supply about 500,000 gallons of water per day and another in Bethesda supplying a further two million gallons daily.
Reverse osmosis plants remove the salt from seawater by pushing the water through semi permeable membranes.
Apua’s Water Business Unit operates six reverse osmosis plants – one on Barbuda and five on mainland Antigua.
The Antigua-based plants are Crabbs (3.1 million gallons a day), Ivan Rodrigues (1.6 million gallons), Camp Blizzard (600,000 gallons), Pigeon Point (330,000 gallons), Ffryes (presently 600,000 gallons). When the new Ffryes beach installation is fully operational, about one million gallons a day will be supplied in total from that plant.
Currently, Antigua requires approximately seven million gallons of water each day. Three types of water sources are used in water production in Antigua; the sea, surface water and ground water.