Prime Minister of Antigua, Gaston Browne, expressed his frustration regarding the ongoing water crisis. He mentioned the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), which is owned by the state, regarding the purchasing of water from a Trinidad and Tobago-based company.
Gaston Browne, while connecting with his listeners through his weekly radio programme, Browne and Browne Show, on Point FM stated that his administration has invested over $100 million in dealing with this crisis and tackling the chronic water problem, but still have not overcome this problem yet.
The Antigua Public Utilities Authority are requested by PM Browne to consider two choices:
– Caribbean Water Treatment, from a local company
– A Trinidad and Tobago-based company
Moreover, the process of re-piping is also in progress to tackle the 20% loss of water due to the leakages from the ageing pipes said by PM Browne.
Browne added that APUA would be looking for the best proposal out of Caribbean Water Treatment and Trinidad and Tobago-based companies and they will consider each option in depth to find out which one would meet their needs. Browne also hinted at the possibility of privatising some sections of the APUA.
He also talked about his preference, stating that he would like to work with the local firms with an assumption that they would be able to meet the requirements within the appropriate time limit.
Browne expressed his frustration and annoyance during his weekly radio programme with the management of the Water Division of the Antigua Public Utilities Authority.
He stated that the Water Division management of AUPA has shown a lack of dedication, intent and the will to complete their tasks efficiently. He added that he is exhausted by explaining the same thing to them over and over again. Yet, they refuse to make an effort to find solutions to this problem of water scarcity.
Despite the huge amount spent on improving water distribution and production, the people of Antigua continue to express their dissatisfaction with the lack of water, said the PM.
Browne is expected to witness improvements in the upcoming year. By the second half of 2024, he plans to add another functional reverse osmosis plant which will be able to produce three million gallons of water daily.
He added that he cannot understand he is producing seven million gallons daily, while the demand is of around nine million gallons, due to which, there are people who are living without access to water facilities for weeks.
Gaston Browne added that this water crisis is one of the most challenging issues that the government has faced in a long time, as they are not able to fulfil the demands of citizens.