New Reverse Osmosis Water Facility For Eleuthera
Eleuthera, The Bahamas – Brackish water in North and Central Eleuthera has been a major problem for the island’s local hotels and tourism attractions. The Bahamas Government has responded to constituent complaints by providing a $600,000 Reverse Osmosis water storage facility, equipped with a Desalination Reverse Osmosis Plant in Rock Sound, Eleuthera to serve the growing population there.
“One of the things we’ve always done, Mr. [Oswald] Ingraham, is we have heard your cry. We have also heard your cry for the water for Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay. Well as you know the government has already begun construction of the reverse osmosis plant for Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay, expected to be completed within the next two or so months,” said Phenton Neymour, Minister of State for the Environment at the May 6 CFL programme launching ceremony in Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera.
Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AquaDesign, a Bahamian company owned by General Electric, which currently supplies reverse osmosis water in Governor’s Harbour, traditionally fed by well fields. The RO plant is a build/own operation so GE will be providing it at a unit cost for the water, however the government paid $600,000 for the two storage tanks.
“We need to improve the quality of water now presently being produced in the North Eleuthera well fields. We have to improve the quality of water if we are to remain where we are in the touristic business,” said Mr. Neymour.
The RO plant is being built as a partnership between Government and General Electric, subject to the guidelines of the National Energy Policy. The plant will operate on renewable energy to reduce the intensity of fossil fuel consumption.
“First of all, the reverse osmosis plant in Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay supplement the supply of water that has been for many years a sub-par quality water, so we are replacing it. It is a unique plant in that we’ve also signed a memorandum of understanding with a company to provide renewable energy,” said Mr. Neymour.
“Because reverse osmosis is an energy intensive process, we will use renewable energy to power the plant also. It’s going to be unique and it’s going to assist in the cost of production because we have guaranteed in the memorandum of understanding that the cost of the electricity must be below that of BEC.”
The new plant is equipped to yield 400,000 gallons a day, but it is only required to provide about 150,000 gallons a day at a capacity of 200,000 gallons per day, so not to overload its machinery. It will also house two 250,000-gallon storage tanks to store about 500,000 gallons of water on site to adequately supply the Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay settlements.
“We think the new facility will meet the demands of Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay, at this particular time we are still in discussions for the Governor’s Harbour Plant,” said Mr. Neymour.
“We are expecting to complete the construction of the tanks by the end of May and should be in a position to begin production at the reverse osmosis plant in mid-June. We should be in full production about a month after that. So we are nearing completion at this particular time.”
On May 5, the government launched its National Energy Policy in the Family Islands and distributed the Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs) to those who qualified according to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) stipulations. The programme was funded by the Inter-Developmental Bank (IDB) and has proven to be a trusted initiative that is also a national lesson in managing savings to prepare for the unpredictable and consistent changes of the future.
By Gena Gibbs
BAHAMAS INFORMATION SERVICES