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Belize River Valley Water project assessed

The Belize River Valley Water project was launched in 2010 by the Government in conjunction with the Caribbean Development Bank, CDB, and has seen nine communities in the Belize River Valley gain access to potable water. By 2012, the Belize Water Services was involved and the actual ground work started in 2013. Today, the major project participants met to review the project implementation. BWS CEO Alvan Haynes says the project has been a huge success.

Alvan Haynes – CEO, BWS
“The works completed in 2015 and there was an inauguration of the system in June 2015. Since then connections have continued. CDB as the main funding agency for the project working with the government of Belize and BWS have been mandated to do what is called a social assessment of the project so this is actually the final wrap up. Consultants were engaged to communicate with the residents and local stakeholders to get an assessment of the project. We are pleased to say that this project ranks extremely high in most areas 4.9 out of 5 and for CDB it’s a milestone in terms of this type of project joint collaboration between Government, Utility, private contractors and the communities in order to get the work done and the residents are happy. They have 24 hour pipes and potable water, they can shower at will and they can now step up and a lot of people are now moving back into the river valley from Belize City. Originally the project had targeted connecting 439 households; by the time the project was finished we had actually connected 631 we have connected a few more since obviously there are some that are not connected because they are too far away or in some cases they are across the river from where the line is but the vast majority of the residents of the River Valley are connected to the system and enjoy the benefit of beautiful water all year round with no need to worry about the dry season again.

The project was funded through a loan granted by the CDB to the Government in 2010. Glen McCarvell, Senior Operations Manager in the Economic Infrastructure Division at the CDB says they are pleased with the outcome.

Glen McCarvell – Senior Operations Manager, CDB
“Its exceeding expectation in terms of what we initially thought the number of villagers that would be served was something in the order of 430 households and now we understand that that is in excess of 480 now have service connections and BWS has actually provided connections for approximately 630 households for future connections so we are quite satisfied. Initially it was expected to be something like I think it was 50 km of water pipelines that was expected but BWS managed to stretch the budget and were able to install approximately 70 km which enabled a greater proportion of the Belize River Valley to get access to clean potable water. This is our exit workshop where we review with the project participants what went will during the project and what didn’t go so well and not to point fingers or anything like that but we are learning organization and we take lessons away from this. We will want to share this with BWS as well as with the Government of Belize so that when they design future rural water supply projects that these lessons can be incorporated and they can provide a better product or better service to the people of Belize. Additionally we want to share this with our other member countries so that they learn these lessons too.

CEO Haynes says the rates remain the same for the communities as in urban areas, although it is a bit cheaper than rates in Belmopan and Belize City where the sewer rates are a little higher. Recently, BWS also connected Gardenia, Biscayne and North Caye Caulker to its system. The company is now looking at starting an expansion in North San Pedro Ambergris Caye.