The Paraquita Bay water plant will be handed over to government in November 2030, according to Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer.
Mr. Rymer provided updates on the facility while responding to questions from opposition member Julian Fraser in the House of Assembly on Sept. 5.
The government’s original contract with Biwater (BVI) Holdings Ltd. required the company to supply bulk water for 16 years after building the plant, Mr. Rymer explained.
An initial estimated completion date in 2012 would have set the handover at 2028, but a supplemental agreement signed before Mr. Rymer took office pushed the date forward to 2030, he said.
In 2015, the United States-based Seven Seas Water acquired Biwater (BVI) and its 16-year contract to supply the territory with 2.3 million gallons of water per day.
In the HOA this month, Mr. Fraser also asked about preparations to transition the ownership of the plant to the government.
Mr. Rymer replied that his ministry is recruiting a consultant to help transition the Water and Sewerage Department into a statutory agency, which will operate and manage the plant as the Water and Sewerage Authority.
The consultant, he added, will be charged with establishing a training plan designed to ensure that current and potential employees have the knowledge and skills to maintain the plant after it is handed over to government.
The consultancy will also include a revision of the organisational structure and present operations to optimise the function and productivity of the water plant, according to the minister.
Supplies and cost
Mr. Fraser also asked how much money government has paid to Seven Seas this year for water it didn’t use.
The minister explained that government is contractually obligated to pay for 2.3 million gallons per day regardless of how much is used.
“So you’ve been taking 2.3 million gallons every day?” Mr. Fraser asked.
Mr. Rymer acknowledged that the full amount is not being used daily, but he didn’t provide more information on the matter.
Mr. Fraser also asked if government “owes” for the water, and Mr. Rymer responded in the negative.
“We are current with our bills, so we pay for whatever is contracted,” he said.
Asked about water rationing, the minister said recent challenges at the BVI Electricity Corporation have affected production.
He added that the ministry is considering conducting leak detection, especially in District Three.