Saba gets approval for finalizing water project

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) has approved Saba’s plans for finalizing the water project this year. During a visit from a delegation from Saba to the Netherlands, led by Commissioner Bruce Zagers, the plans for the remaining works were presented. The proposed plans are based on the available budget and the needs and wishes of the Saban community.

Commissioner Zagers (left) shakes hands with mr. Leo Helvensteijn from VEI after agreeing on the scope of VEI’s remaining work on the water project.

The execution of the water project started in 2016, with the design for a pipeline system from the Reverse Osmosis installations in Fort Bay to the Bottom. This pipeline was installed last year. Currently, the pipeline is being extended to Windwardside. If sufficient budget remains, the pipeline will be further extended to Hell’s Gate.

Vitens Evides International (VEI) has assisted with advice on the design and materials to use for the pipeline system. The pipeline is partly placed above ground, where it will be attached with clamps to the outside of the wall along the road. This was done to save costs and to reduce the risk of damage to the fibre optic cable which runs through the shoulders of the main road. A sturdy, low maintenance HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) pipe is used for the entire transport system. Water temperature has proven to stay low in these pipes, making it possible to keep them above ground. Nevertheless, the water temperature in the pipeline will be regularly monitored to ensure the quality of the water.

Additional to the pipeline system, a water bottling facility will be built. Commissioner Zagers emphasizes the importance of building a facility that is tailor made to the needs on Saba. ‘We aim to start with a simple bottling facility that can be managed and maintained by local people. The facility we are considering now produces 0,5 and 1,5 L bottles with high quality drinking water. In the future we want to think about possible expansion of the bottling plant, making it possible to fill larger bottles and perhaps shifting to reusable bottles to reduce plastic waste.’

Also for the remaining works in the water project Saba will receive advice and assistance from VEI. While in the Netherlands, Commissioner Zagers met with VEI and agreed with them on the scope of their work. It is expected that all remaining works can be finalized this year.

The water project will result in a significant reduction of the costs of RO water and drinking water. The Commissioner views this project as an example project for effective poverty alleviation. ‘Water is a basic need, just like food, electricity and access to internet. Fighting poverty requires each ministry in the Netherlands to take responsibility in their own work field to reduce the financial burden on Saba’s citizens. By making this water project possible, I&W has taken an important step in reducing the costs of living. We highly appreciate the confidence and support I&W has shown us and hope that this project will be seen as an example in the Dutch government.’

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