The Water and Sewerage Corporation, Abaco, is continuing the process of its upgrades to the system. Barrington Murphy, Area Manager for Abaco and the Cays, explained what these upgrades are going to mean to the people of Abaco. Mr. Murphy began by stating the fact that every summer the corporation is challenged in its production capabilities owing to greater demand for water due to the hotter weather and children being home from school. Despite these challenges, he stated that the Corporation is already providing a high standard of service and is working to improve even more. It is presently running at an 80% efficiency rating and that rating should soon be up to 95%.
The Central Abaco Area:
Whereas the corporation was previously under-producing, the installation of two additional pumps will allow it to now keep pace and keep storage levels replenished. The water demand in Marsh Harbour is 1.2 million gallons a day and the corporation is now producing between 1.4 and 1.5 million gallons a day so the surplus is kept in storage. There is a 700,000 gallon storage capacity and the storage levels are steadily increasing.
There have been problems over the years when the Bahamas Electricity Corporation goes down since water production capabilities are then halted. The water flow is dependent on BEC so when power outages occur emergency generators are utilised both for the well fields and distribution. There was a challenge with the starting circuit on the distribution generator, but that has been solved and the generator is now functioning on full automatic.
The generator previously had to be turned on manually but an auto-transfer switch was ordered and with the installation of this the generator will come on automatically and so there will be less effect from the BEC outages which had previously plagued the corporation. “The shoring up of our emergency generating systems will enable us to do an even better job.” Said Mr. Murphy.
“We are constantly working to be on the cutting edge and in Marsh Harbour we are installing a high efficiency variable frequency pump which will maintain pressures above the norm reducing the likelihood of low water pressure. This pump, which cost the corporation a substantial amount of money, has already been installed and we are now in the process of programming it.
Leaks are now being kept to a minimum in Marsh Harbour due to aggressive leakage controls. Our leakage control team is on the ground eight hours a day.”
The Treasure Cay plant is currently functioning at capacity. The plant also serves Green Turtle Cay and is, according to Water and Sewerage, providing acceptable levels of performance. There is, however, a major problem at Treasure Cay with a storage tank leak.
“We have had several major companies trying to repair it but so far without success. However, a company from Tampa is coming in which will be able to take care of the problem. We are installing six additional zone control bars to limit the incidence of communitywide outages. This will enable us to shut off certain areas so when work is necessary in one area we can isolate the area where the leaks are so that the entire community will not be without water,” Explained Mr. Murphy.
In the smaller areas of Blackwood, Fire Road and Coopers Town there are negligible challenges. There is, however, a problem in the area from Cedar Harbour to Fox Town and on down to Crown Haven where water quality is an issue. The water resources management unit has done surveys and assessment of the well systems and is waiting on their recommendations to find fresher water sources.
In Sandy Point and surrounding areas direct distribution techniques are being utilised. The corporation is in the process of constructing a pumping station for that area and all the equipment is in place so that it is now ready for activation. Activation has been delayed, however, because Water and Sewerage is waiting for a shipment of transformers from BEC. This is a state-of-the-art facility and will be a more efficient system.
Pumping stations are in place at strategic locations between Sandy Point and Marsh Harbour and the corporation has approximately 10 separate production and distribution schemes running at the same time
Mr. Murphy is proud of his cadre of dedicated and committed persons within the corporation. His staff of 24 is responsible for production, flows and pressures and ensuring that the quality is up to par.
Abaco is the only island in The Bahamas responsible for 90% of the production of its water.
There are RO (Reverse Osmosis) plants in Grand Cay, Sweeting’s Cay and Moore’s Island but all other areas are fed by the corporation itself. Abaco is growing and is now at a critical point. Everything has its design threshold and Central Abaco is at that point. Even in the outlying areas there is increased demand and we are working to keep pace with this demand. We are constantly battling to keep pace and are constantly working to be on the cutting edge assured Mr. Murphy.