The P.U.C. looks at where the country wants to be, in terms of improving the lives of the citizenry and the utility services being offered to achieve that. In terms of water, there are the sustainable development goals by the United Nations that speak to water for everyone by 2030. The WHO standard is the policy helping to guide the regulator in its decisions. But the country has been facing serious issues as it relates to waste water. Ernesto Gomez says that many departments are trying to develop waste water policies and most important is one by the Department of Environment.

Ernesto Gomez, Director, Tariff Compliance and Standards, P.U.C.

"The waste water policy, the D.O.E. actually has it in their law. The effluents, how the contamination, what you are supposed to put back into the water. So we follow those policies. The collection of waste water is also a natural monopoly, but the water goes and is used, it has to be returned back - where the systems are there. The treatment of waste water can also be competitive. There are so many ways of treating waste water. As a matter of fact, the three pumps that we have - Belmopan, Belize and San Pedro - are just servicing, I would say, less than twenty percent of the entire customers of BWS countrywide. The rest of the customers, most of them use septic tank. That is a system also. When we did a rate setting for 2022 for BWS, we informed them that it's also your responsibility to take care of those septic tanks. The septic tanks need to be serviced; of course, they have to cost it and we are waiting to see how they are going to make that submission to us. Otherwise what happens to that septic tank, when it is full, some private person goes and pumps it out and we don't know where they throw it. We are not saying that septic tank is wrong. It is a system that is good and cheap for different areas. It is not nice for coastal areas where you don't have land to do the leeching and soakaway. You are basically just dumping it into a wetland, like in most cases like San Pedro where the pipeline doesn't work. Caye caulker or so, septic tanks are not that good. You might need to put more expensive systems. But wherever it is, whatever system it is, we need to set standards, we need to regulate it and it needs to be priced. Of note is that recently at COP27, the Ministry of Sustainable Development Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management was part of a side event hosted by the CCCCC (5Cs) where a waste water management project funded by the Global Climate Fund in Barbados, could possibly be replicated in certain areas of Belize."

Channel 5