The desalination solution
Ionics Freshwater Limited Director, David Staples, has put forward a suggestion he said could help solve some of the problems facing the region’s water supply and wastewater management systems.
Established in 1999, the Barbadian company specialises in design, installation and operation of drinking water and wastewater treatment plants using reverse osmosis and membrane bioreactor technology.
Staples said the company was in a position to build desalination plants throughout the region and provide each territory with potable water at an affordable rate. This, he said, would take some of the pressure off the utility companies.
Some territories, including Barbados, are considered water scarce.
“All our regional governments are facing the same problems; high debt load, challenges of obtaining productivity, sometimes a shortage of technical skills and finance, and a major problem that governments have is accountability,” said Staples.
“This public private partnership really works. It delivers accountability, it delivers value. It is a performance based contract where all the capital is ours. This local partner model I think is one that can fit the region . . . We have the technical, management and financial skills to do that.
“The water is pressurised and put in the pipe. We sell it between $1.45 and $1.80 a cubic metre. The Barbados Water Authority then takes that water and sells it to the commercial customers for $4.66 a cubic metre. That is pretty good value.
“They then sell it to the residential customers at 2.48 a cubic metre for the first eight cubic metres,” he explained.
Staples made the pitch at the opening of the recent 22nd annual Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The five day conference and exhibition, which was hosted by the Barbados Water Authority, was held under the theme Water and Waste Management in the Caribbean: Cooperation for Action. It was attended by a number of engineers, government representatives, and utility representatives from the Caribbean, Latin America, North America and Europe. (MM)