The government will spend $20 million to replace pipes across Antigua and Barbuda in an effort to curb lost water through its distribution process to consumers via its desalination plants.
Public Utilities Minister Sir Robin Yearwood revealed that the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) loses 30 to 40 per cent of water through distribution.
Sir Robin said in addition to water being lost through distribution, it also results from burst pipes and theft.
He said the government intends to reduce this by 20 per cent in the new year and added that the utility company have begun to replace old pipes.
“I want to thank the prime minister and the Cabinet for helping out with new pipes, the new pipes are supposed to be arriving this week. We have already started with existing pipes to patch all the pipes that were left without maintenance.
“The entire country of Antigua will be taken care of with the priority being where the worst pipes are. We have to start at the centre of the arteries from Crabbs to Barnacle Point, wherever we have desalination plants we will start in that area because those are the main pipes to make sure the people have water, that’s how Labour cares,” Sir Robin said.
The public utilities minister said it will cost the government $20 million to replace the network of pipes.
When questioned by Member of Parliament for All Saints East and St Luke Joanne Massiah about the continued water rationing situation, Sir Robin noted that every section of the island now experiences uninterrupted water supply.
“Those areas without busted pipes…I get congratulatory messages every day where the water is flowing. Before time it was everyday question on the radio about no water here, no water there, no water everywhere. Today you don’t get that.
“When you have problems with water is when you have busted pipes. Some people will have problems with water if they live on the high hills, and people are drawing water below the pressure does not go up there all the times, whether it’s this year, whether it was in 2015, it was there since 2004. But we do have enough water in Antigua and Barbuda presently as we speak from desalinisation to cover the demands of the entire country, uninterrupted,” Sir Robin said.
He said in hilly areas, the government is considering placing pumps to assist the water in getting to homes much easier.
Sir Robin in response to a question about Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) funds being allocated to APUA to repair busted pipes, Sir Robin would not put a figure to the amount received, only to say that the authority received millions from CIP funds towards the initiative.