FEBRUARY 16, 2005



Mr. Speaker as you are aware, we have been experiencing critical potable water shortages here in New Providence over the past few months.


This unfortunate scenario we find ourselves in, has caused major inconvenience to many of our residents and guests over the holiday season and still continues as I speak today. Let me emphasise at this stage that this is a major challenge  for the Water and Sewerage Corporation  and its resolution must be examined very carefully so that this predicament can be avoided in the future.

For the information of those not familiar with the water production operation, a brief outline is given: -








The three major sources of the 9.5 million gallons of water per day for New Providence are:

1.     5 MGD is barged  from North Andros – representing 55%

2.     2 MGD of Reverse Osmosis from Waterfield Co representing 20%

3.     2.5 MDG of Groundwater from New Providence Well fields (WSC&NPDC) representing 25%


          In the barging operation there are two self-propelled vessels, which are required to operate 24 hours,7 days a week in order to deliver water on a continuous basis.

          The M/V Titas delivers 3.3 mgd- 66%

          The M/V Dolphin delivers 1.7 mgd – 34%

The unforeseen circumstance, which has initially occurred   on the 20th December 2004 is that the M/V Titas has been hampered by catastrophic engine failure and had to be taken off hire so that repair works could be carried out. The overhaul of these 25 to 30-ton units requires major diagnosis and overhaul, and replacement parts have to specially manufacture due to the age of the units presently installed.




The Titas has performed well over the last 5 years so these mechanical failures are considered an extraordinary situation relative to past performance.

 The net result however, is the production level of 9.5MGD had been substantially reduced to less than 7.0MGD.

Mr. Speaker,

          Let me add at this time, the fact that over this same period that there has been a very noticeable absence of rainfall to replenish precious groundwater sources, and even the Reverse Osmosis plant has had some sporadic disruptions which resulted in it achieving only a 93% performance over the last two months period.  Consequently, heavy reliance had to be placed on our limited storage, which only stands at 40 million gallons, and has now been depleted to a critical level.

Mr. Speaker,

          Over the past two months, every opportunity has been used to keep the general public well informed of the circumstance as well as the time of day when water would be available. The Corporation has maintained communications with the Owners of the Titas, and International Shipping Partners (ISP), operating agents for the Titas, with the view of developing immediate and long term plans. In order to resolve this problem, two new special built units will have  to be placed on order, but it would be a matter of 6-8 months before these units can be delivered. However, in the interim the Corporation has taken delivery of another rebuilt unit in the last two weeks, and this should help to provide for some immediate relief to the problem. We are encouraged that repairs to the unit on board have been completed allowing the vessel to be able to travel to North Andros as of yesterday February 14, 2005.

          It should be noted that in order to deliver water during  the period while awaiting parts and carrying out repairs, two heavy-duty tugs were brought in from the United States,  to pull the M/V Titas similarly as is done with a barge. Unfortunately, with the passing of recent cold fronts and high gale force winds of up to 40 knots this operation has not been successful, with only  periodic trips completed over  period.


Mr. Speaker,

          For the critics who may wish to suggest that little is being done, allow me to note a few of the options that have been looked at as immediate, and possible long term solutions, to this long time water supply problem.






1.    Instructions were issued to Brokers to place an advertisement  on the market for a 3rd Vessel to be hired for a 30-60 days period. We have hired a vessel to assist in the barging of water over the next 30 days at minimum.  The daily rates are much higher than the current ones, but the need is justified. Numerous replies of interest for a long-term contract have been received.

2.     Proposals for a temporary Reverse Osmosis Plant for 1 million gallons per day have been solicited. This requires some 12 – 14 weeks delivery period and requires a longer-term contract of 1 to 2 years.

3.    Inquires has been discussed with the United States Embassy to see if any Humanitarian or commercial assistance can be sought on our behalf. With recent natural tragedies and ongoing warfare, mobile emergency equipment is very scarce.

4.    Local production in Well fields has been optimized where it can be provided, and the infrastructure exists to  deliver to storage.

5.    Tenders for a 5 MGD Reverse Osmosis Plant under the terms of a Build Own Operate (BOO) contract have been received by the Corporation and analyzed by the Engineering consultant firm Camp Dresser, McKee (CDM).

 The bids were short listed to the two lowest bidders so that more detailed analysis and negotiations can begin with the two lowest bidders. The fact that alternatives to the base bids were allowed caused some further delays in reaching a conclusion, since both bids were relatively close in price, over the 20 year life of the contract, and both companies appear to be competent, and able to deliver the goods.


Mr. Speaker,

     I am certain the issue of huge water losses that plagued the distribution system have been mentioned many times before, and the range of over 50% losses has plagued the Corporation for over 20 years. However, there are proposals to implement a program to reduce Non Revenue Water (NRW) as a component to this Water Supply contract. It is intended that while that plant will be built with some 20% extra production capacity, the NRW program is also expected to reduce losses by 1 MGD within the initial years of the contract. Both the Contractor and the Corporation will be working together to improve the efficiency of the delivery system. Therefore, as increase in revenue shall be seen from the new additional source of Reverse Osmosis water.

Mr. Speaker,

     At this time I wish to disclose that the contract to supply a 5 MGD water production plant under a Build, Own, Operate, agreement (BOO) contract arrangement has been awarded to Consolidated Water Company Limited out of the Cayman Islands. For those not directly familiar with the company, it is the company that purchased the Waterfield Company Limited, in 2003 and holds the majority shares of the Waterfields Company, which presently produces 2 MGD of Reverse Osmosis Water at Windsor Field water production facility. The Company is willing and prepared to expand its operation under similar term and arrangements as the existing contract and this carry with it certain inherent advantages and cost savings to the Corporation, and the Government of the Bahamas.

Consolidated Water has 14 years experience in BOO operations and presently supplies water in Nassau and South Bimini, as well as in Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands.


The company’s operations have seen continuous growth, and appear to be growing and it has the financial capability to deliver the goods as committed, and on time.

The Government’s decision to award this Reverse Osmosis Contract has been delayed for reasons other than the Bid evaluation process itself. A proposal to install an underwater line from Central Andros to Nassau was presented to the Government of The Bahamas for consideration with a promise and commitment to deliver up to 10 Million Gallons per day of freshwater from Andros. This appeared on the onset to be a cure-all solution.  However, it required major capital expansion to operations in Andros, as well as the highly complex issue of installing and underwater pipeline which would also have to cross The Tongue of the Ocean. There are many different views on the technical challenges of the feat, and the vulnerability and reliability of such a system raises too many questions. It has been concluded at this stage that the risks are too high for such a scheme, and too much redundancy will still have to be put in place. The proposal has not been totally eliminated, but for now considered ahead of its time. Reverse Osmosis operation in New Providence is therefore the best and most cost effective option for the Water and Sewerage Corporation at this time.


Mr. Speaker,

The issue of water supply throughout the Bahamas is a very challenging one, and we cannot rest until these services can be provided to every resident. There are still major capital investments to be made in order for this to happen. It is imperative that private sector funds as well as public sector funds be utilized so that the large investments needed can be made available and to reduce the time frame for implementation. Good water supplies are required on most islands, and they are needed now.


The Corporation has been a champion with regards to Private Sector Participation (PSP) as can be seen through the many major contractual arrangements that already exist with the Private Sector. Presently, more than 70% of the water production operation for New Providence involves private sector contracts, with an annual cost of over $10m.  There are many other opportunities for future investment in the various Family Islands; and the Corporation already has 10 (ten) joint venture operations to produce and supply Reverse Osmosis water. A number of Franchises to operate and sustain existing and proposed large development have to be considered to ensure that the highest standard of service can be delivered. PSP with water and sewerage services can be a catalyst to bring the relief required to all our residents, and the Water and Sewerage Corporation has its role to play in many of these arrangements.


Speculations in the Stock Market latterly suggest that Water in the next few years, will be the Crude Oil of the years past so all those investing in water and related production, can expect good returns on their investments. We would wish to encourage more Bahamian entrepreneurs to join in some of these ventures as the opportunities arrive.


Mr. Speaker,

     The Government of The Right Honorable Perry Christie of which I serve will continue to up date you on this important issue in the near future, and we hope the residents on New Providence in particular will soon see some immediate relief to this current situation and take some solace in knowing that the permanent solution is in the making.

Consumers throughout New Providence will recognize a distinct improvement in their potable water supply as the week progresses.  The Corporation will undertake to provide water during the peak periods, peak period begin 5 am to 10 am and 4pm to 10 pm.  During off-peak periods, off-peak being 10 am to 4pm and 10pm to 5am consumers will notice a reduction in supply.  There will however be no disruption in service.

Currently storage reserves are at 9.7 million imperial gallons, which is extremely low.  Therefore over the next 45 days the Corporation will endeavor to build its storage reserves by one half a million imperial gallons per day.  At the end of this period, it is expected that a sense of normalcy will return and therefore consumers will receive a consistent supply of potable water.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform this Hon. House that the cost of RO Water has declined to the point where the cost of barging water from Andros is more expensive than the cost of water which the new 5 mgpd RO Plant will provide.. That is why Mr. Speaker, the launch of the new RO Plant will lead to the eventual discontinuation of barging of water from Andros. We shall always be grateful to the good people of Andros for their support over these many years.

Finally Mr. Speaker, the Board of Directors and management of the Water & Sewerage Corp. have been directed to move with in 90 days to begin the process to invite tenders for a 2million gallon per day RO Plant under the terms of a Build Own Operate (BOO)  to be located at Arawak Cay where substantial storage facilities are already in place,

Mr. Speaker in the PLP’S “Our Plan” we committed to

(a)                    Improve the supply of water to all New Providence communities.

(b)                   Establish a “Back Up” or alternate supply of barged water for New Providence.

I am confident Mr. Speaker that the initiatives I announced this evening will bring a resolution to the vexing problem of Portable Water here in New Providence. 


In conclusion Mr. Speaker we strongly encourage our people to wisely use the precious resource of WATER. Simply put  “Waste Not Want Not” Mr. Speaker our well fields here on New Providence  are running near or on “E” and are therefore badly in need of replenishment. What we need is RAIN. Let’s all pray for rain. It will be a JOY for all to join in the chorus “It is raining”.


On behalf of the Government of The Bahamas and the Water

and Sewerage Corporation I take this opportunity to profoundly apologize to the Bahamian public for the inconvenience they may have experienced during this period; however be assured that help is on the way.