LETTER: Government’s Ineffectiveness in Ensuring Water Supply Despite High Production Levels


by HellaMay

In a glaring revelation, the Minister for Public Utilities, MELFORD NICHOLAS, has exposed the disturbing inadequacy of the government’s ability to provide a consistent and reliable water supply in ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, even when the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) boasts daily water production exceeding 7 million gallons.

The Minister’s report sheds light on a pressing issue that has plagued citizens and industries for far too long, raising serious concerns about the government’s competence in addressing this basic necessity.

The most alarming aspect of the Minister’s report is the admission that despite APUA’s claims of high daily water production, the actual supply falls woefully short of meeting the surging demands of the population and critical sectors like tourism.

It is mind-boggling that a country with abundant access to seawater still faces recurring water shortages. The report highlights a concerning lack of foresight and planning in managing a vital resource.

One stark indicator of the government’s failure in water supply management is the increasing trend of hotels taking matters into their own hands by investing in Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants.

It is baffling that a significant portion of the tourism industry, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy, has been forced to independently secure its water supply, with at least one hotel guzzling over 100,000 gallons daily. This revelation demonstrates a severe mismatch between the government’s promises and its actions.

To add insult to injury, the government’s response has been reactive rather than proactive. The announcement of APUA’s acquisition of ultra-filtration equipment, while commendable, is long overdue.

The fact that this technology, which could have enhanced the efficiency of water treatment facilities and prolonged the lifespan of essential equipment, was only recently acquired indicates a lack of strategic planning and investment in critical infrastructure.

Moreover, the replacement of rusting equipment at the Ffryes plant, as mentioned in the report, raises questions about the government’s neglect of infrastructure maintenance. The previous state of disrepair not only jeopardized the quality of water supplied but also posed environmental risks.

While the government acknowledges the severe drought conditions affecting the Caribbean, its response has been inadequate given the scale of the crisis.

The commitment of over $100 million dollars to address this challenge is a step in the right direction but comes across as a belated and insufficient measure, considering the prolonged nature of the issue.

In conclusion, the Minister’s report paints a disheartening picture of the government’s failure to ensure a consistent and reliable water supply, despite ample production capacity.

The country deserves more than just lip service and sporadic investments; it requires a well-thought-out, proactive, and comprehensive approach to water management.

The government’s inability to deliver on this basic need is not only a failure of governance but a betrayal of the trust placed in it by the people of ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA.

Urgent and decisive action is needed to rectify this dire situation and provide the citizens with the essential resource they rightfully deserve.

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  1. Translation of the Minister Melford Nicholas long-winded garbled verbiage on Antigua’s ongoing island-wide water shortages:


  2. This water situation has become like a death sentence. How many more excuses are going to accept from this inept government? Gaston said he would fix the water problem in 14 days. Robin say granny wan bade. They have not delivered.
    Time for the government to go!

  3. The writer expands on the cabinet notes quite well. The question is what is going to be done to remedy our water issues. We have enough rainfall to help offset the plants to reduce environmental impacts and equipment downtime if we simply construct storage tanks in communities and actually use the big blue ones constructed by the UPP that have been sitting empty and unused prompting thieves to remove pipes and fixtures. We need to stop playing the one up game and focus on the actual needs of the people. Antigua had streams and even rivers because of simple waterways built in colonial days that could repaired. We have always had water issues, but ingenious ways were developed to mitgate drought. Please stop trying to spite the previous government and stop building RO Plants. Maintain the ones we have and put more storage in page to collect rainwater.

  4. I blame the government for not firing the incompetent officials for so long. Megatron keep talking about these corrupt people in APUA

  5. Writer stop spreading ignorance. The hotels since our move into the sector have always been encouraged to produce their own water. incentives were always given for them to invest in such. Seems also you can’t make up your mind: in one instance you argue we have a high level of production, then in another you highlight the fact that we are still not producing enough. Interestingly you fail to state that before 2004 we produced some 3 million a day, it was not until after 2014, production was moved up to some 7 million a day. Truth is during the period 2004 to 2014, production by RO actually went down, due to the decision to do away with Tango. There was also the issue of owing some 21 millions to Sembcorp which caused them to not produce at the max. A 2000 study (Integrating Management of Watersheds & Coastal Areas in Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean
    )of A&B water situation points out it costs 48.00 per 1K gallons (would be more expensive now) to produce RO water. Currently APUA’s rate is 22.00 per 1K though now some 90 percent of water sent to homes comes via ROI.

    • @Tenman… you always run you mouth when someone criticize this government. Wether there is enough production or not, the FACT remains that the vast majority of ordinary citizens are not getting water on a regular basis. I do not care to hear any excuses; we in Antigua are so use to mediocrity that it has become a way of life! Come on man; call a spade a spade and then maybe we will take your comments seriously.

    • @tenman
      The present administration has been in power for what is now over two terms. It is time that the former administration stop being blamed for this government’s incompetence, they have been out of power for almost a decade. The ABLP in 2014 built their campaign on the promise to fix the water situation in 14 days. Those days have turned into years, the water situation is still atrocious. The excuses have become redundant and the populous need not continue to settle for mediocrity. It is about time the kool-aid drinkers open their eyes and call this administration out on their bs. We should stop settling for less becuase when the rich and powerful come to this island they do not have to contend with this, so why should we as locals have to put up with it?

  6. Tango should not have been introduced to Antigua in the first place but members of the Antigua Labour Party benefitted from its purchase. This plant was one, of the two, that were ever built and consumed 1k gallons of fuel per hour or 24k gallons of fuel per day. Robin is still alive so he should be able to give us accurate info, if he’s able to speak the truth and not stricken by dementia as is being reported. Foster Wheeler is still being owed for the construction of the plant up to this day.

  7. The hotels are spoiling the same beaches that is most important to their survival. Who is monitoring the quality of water produced by the hotels and served to both staff and tourists. The same hotels are also dumping sewage water full of faecal matter in the sea or near by lagoons – Mckennons Lagoon and Deep Bay for example . That is the ministry of health doing about this or are they aware. The environment authorities , DCA and APUA needs to look into there matters seriously. There is no monitoring of how the hotels around the island reenter the brine or highly concentrated salt water into the near by beaches or the dumping of sewage water from their sewage plants.

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