Safety of ocean vessels a priority for Biwater's water intake project
At this stage Biwater has not been granted the go-ahead to use the sea as its main supply source but is eagerly awaiting the sitting of Cabinet at the end of January 2013 when this issue will be on the table for discussion and decision.
However, Biwater says it has done all the necessary feasibility studies of using the sea as its source after its first and second options of drilling well holes and using beach sources failed.
In an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online, Managing Director of Biwater Mr Richard F. Smith spoke of the careful consideration that has been put into the safety of vessels as it relates to the project. "We are conscious of the shipping channels and the shipping channel both at Brandy Wine Bay and Paraquita Bay is sufficiently away from where the intake is. We will have a bouy with a light on it and vessels wouldn't be able to moor on it," Smith assured.
He further stated that the possibility does not exist for boats or cruise ships to stray away because they will ground prior to landing on the underwater construction. "I should say that was our most important concern."
Mr Smith has also given the assurance that, though the water will be sourced from the sea, if given a no objection vote from cabinet, it will produce potable water for consumption from taps in homes.
"What we hope to bring to the people of the BVI is potable water, water that you can drink out of the tap. That will be guaranteed because of the processes that we have here," assured Mr Smith.
He explained that the company has at its treatment plant a process, which is called "post treatment". This entails a treatment called re-carbonate "where you actually bring the water to a potable standard."
As works progress at the Biwater facility, the company is working towards arranging public tours for institutions, groups and organisations as a public relations effort to afford residents the opportunity of having a first-hand look and understanding of the full Biwater operations.
Sourcing the water from the sea has added some $2.5M to the company's initial budget, a cost that they had no choice but to single handedly absorb. "That was a hard hit but it's money well spent for the reliability of the source for the future," said Mr. Smith.
With the system up and running, Bi-Water has assured that Tortola is guaranteed twenty four hours supply of potable water.
After a period of sixteen (16) years of operation, the Biwater facilities will then be handed over to Government.