Will San Pedranos get lower Water Rates?
The Government of Belize has provided the loan guarantee, obtaining a CDB grant of US $205,000, and assisting with facilitating the transaction. BWS intends in the future to install more lines to the south of San Pedro Town; improve access to San Mateo; install an underwater crossing to have a main to supply that and other areas to the north. But do any of these improvements translate to savings to consumers on la Isla Bonita? We asked CEO Haynes that question.
Jose Sanchez: “In terms of the bottom dollar for consumers will they be seeing any savings in the company or is it just advent supply?”
Alvan Haynes CEO, Belize Water Services: “For the immediate future there is no expectation of change in rates but based on what we are doing we are expecting that the rates will remain stable. I know that from the main funding partners there has been some concern especially with regard to that larger expansion project which would be coming on stream probably in about 2 years time but certainly by owning the assets of the Consolidated Water Belize Ltd. it puts BWS in a position to better control out cost and therefore to be able to hold the tariffs done and keep them in a far more stable way. Basically by acquiring the company, even though we will have to repay the loan that is financing it we are putting ourselves in a position of being able to save a significant sum of money on an annual basis going forward. We are expecting that we will save somewhere in the area 1 to a ˝ million dollars a year out of being able to run this system ourselves. However obviously expanding capacity and expanding the distribution system does come at additional capital investment and therefore feeding the growth that the demand that keeps on increasing requires additional capital investment so it is a balancing act. We will reduce the cost relating to the production and distribution as is but we will invest more funds into expanding the capacity and the distribution system at the same time.”
Another project on the horizon will result in expansion of water services to the north of Ambergris Caye and will include reservoirs, improved production and distribution.
Water Shortage on La Isla Bonita Should be a Thing of the Past
Belize Water Services is presently undertaking works to upgrade the supply for San Pedro by expanding the existing storage capacity. In July 2018, the company began the construction of an additional one-million gallon ferro-concrete storage tank. During extended peak demand periods such as Easter, Ambergris Caye has experienced prolonged water shortages and supply restrictions. The construction of the tank will help to alleviate that problem.
Alvan Haynes, C.E.O., Belize Water Services Ltd.
“We have immediately tried to do measures to improve the supply at peak. As you are aware, in the last few years there’s been particular stress during the Easter holidays which is the extended two weeks when Belizeans, in particular, and of course other tourists fill the island. We have already commenced the process of building an additional one million U.S. gallon tank out there. The design is that it is being done in two halves to improve maintenance, so one half can be maintained while the other maintains supply. That is due to be completed in March. We’re hoping by mid-March because the Easter is middle of April, because once the tank is completed we obviously have to fill it which will take a little bit of challenge because the real problem is that the tank doesn’t have the full capacity to meet the high demand. So we will have to step that and make sure the tank gets filled so that when the Easter comes on we have adequate supply. We should say that part of the Consolidated Water Belize purchase includes not only the plant, but also a one million U.S. gallon tank that was theirs which is right now the main reservoir. So we’re boosting that but the challenge will be to have those tanks filled enough so that they can help with the peak demand.”