CABINET NOTES – The Cabinet held discussions on the issue of water sustainability utilizing reverse osmosis plants. A severe drought exists which compels complete reliance on reverse osmosis water.
The Minister responsible for Utilities was pleased to inform the Cabinet that a new plant, intended to expand water production, has arrived in Antigua and is to be installed at Fort James alongside the existing plant located in that same facility.
A discussion was held about creating near-shore wells that could be 95 to 120 feet deep and sufficiently wide to allow for pipes to be placed in them to suck up brackish water for the reverse osmosis plant.
In Barbuda, wells are utilized for securing water for the reverse osmosis plant; and at Pigeon Point wells are also utilized. However, the other reverse osmosis plants rely on water obtained directly from the sea; plants are then turned off during times when groundswell, high winds and rough seas cause the water to be filled with sand, shells, vegetation and other debris that are harmful to the membranes in the reverse osmosis plants.
The wells will alleviate the challenge posed by the adverse conditions that cause potable water production to decline. Antigua consumes more than 11,000,000 gallons of potable water daily.
Another reverse osmosis plant, to be placed near Bethesda, would bring production to the same level as demand. More than EC$120 million dollars have been expended on the purchase of reverse osmosis plants by the Gaston Browne administration.