Back in February, we told you how the country's main water provider, BWS, was making big moves with the help of the Government and the Caribbean Development Bank to end San Pedro's water worries completely.
For years now, the local water company, Consolidated Water Belize Limited, has been unable to meet the water demands of the island, which has grown exponentially in the last 2 decades. Currently, the average daily water consumption on the island is approximately 800 thousand gallons.
Ambergris Caye feels the pinch of that shortage with water interruptions and water rationing, which becomes more severe during the tourism high season, and the Easter Holidays, when there is an increase of visitors to the island.
Well, BWS is going to take over from Consolidated, and they will be supplying the island adequately to meet its water needs. The company held a grand ceremony on the island today to inaugurate the project called, "The Ambergris Caye Water Improvement" project.
Here's what a few of the main speakers at the event had to say about this major shift in the availability of water to the island:
Daniel Guerrero - Mayor, San Pedro Town Council
"The island of Ambergris Caye and the people of San Pedro are happy for the multi-million-dollar investment that is being made through the improvements to our water system in the short and medium term. This investment will improve the overall tourism product of the island, and will have a lasting impact on the quality of life of our residents. Over the past 20 years, we have seen an extraordinary growth rate on Ambergris Caye, from a 9% growth rate per annum in the 1990's and in the early part of the 2,000's, to a 17% growth rate per annum over the past 10 years. This is no easy job to manage, especially when the growth rate exceeds the capacity in the infrastructure that is in place. The acquisition of Consolidated Waters Belize Limited was significant for BWS. It gives them the full control of our water supply system, thus making the necessary investment to fulfill the demands of the island."
Alberto August - Chairman, Board of Governors, BWS
"Today is a historic day for the Belize Water Services Limited and indeed for the people of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, as we officially inaugurate the Ambergris Caye water improvement project. Historic for BWS I say because at over 35 million dollars, the project stands out as one the company's biggest singular investment in any of its service areas across the country in its 18 years of existence. Historic for the residence of Ambergris Caye because it ushers in that era when the challenges with water supply is becoming and will very soon become a thing of the past. The investment that we are officially inaugurating today includes, like the mayor rightfully said, 14 million dollars for the purchase of the assets of consolidated Water Belize Limited, which is a subsidiary of consolidated Water Cayman Limited. The funds for which, was made available through a low interest 8.5 million US dollars loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. We're also factoring in an 8.25 million dollars for the expansion of water and waste water services and normal progression works within the town as well as in the areas of San Mateo, and Boca Del Rio. The company is also investing a 17 million dollar for the purchase of a new reverse osmosis plant which on order and which is currently being constructed and is slated to arrive on the island in late July or early August of this year. We're also investing 6 million dollars for the construction and if you could look towards my right, 6 million dollars for a new 1 million gallon storage tank which is nearing completion and which upon completion will bring the company's storage capacity on the island to 2.3 million gallons of water. This investment was prompted by the realization that the Belize Water Services Limited has got to keep pace with the exponential growth and phenomenal expansion taking place on the island.”
So as you heard, 14 million dollars was spent for the purchase of the assets of Consolidated Water Belize. 8.25 million dollars will be spent by BWS to upgrade the infrastructure in different parts of San Pedro. 17 million dollars will be spent to purchase a new reverse osmosis plant for the island, and another 6 million dollars will be spent for the construction of a 1-million-gallon water storage tank.