BWS Says Placencia Water Expansion Project Setbacks Caused Major Increase in Cost
Following the recent water pressure shortage in Placencia Village, Stann Creek, Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) is partnering with a private landowner to access his well in Riverdale in order to provide more water to the community. For the past several weeks, the village has been experiencing weak water pressure, which has affected residents and businesses alike. The BWS has attributed the issue to the high demand for water in the area, especially as tourism picks up pace. BWS Public Relations Manager, Haydon Brown, says that this project was in the works since pre-COVID-19 times; however, the onset of the pandemic caused a major setback in their plans, which has even resulted in the entire project being more expensive.
Haydon Brown, Public Relations Manager, Belize Water Services Limited: “This project did not just get initiated now by BWS this was in the planning three or so years ago. Part of which COVID came about and definitely put a wrench in the works for us. It created a challenge for us and because of that as we are talking about investment this project was to cost us something like about $7 million dollars, because of COVID and all things being equal it’s now costing us $13 million dollars to do the same works. I mean I don’t think that any right minded company knowing what we know now would have stalled intentionally to make this investment when we could have done better at a lower cost. So I mean obviously there were things that were out of our control that caused us not to be able to do the work when we wanted to do the works and so here we are now reality check because it was something that we did see was necessary. Initially I would say my COO would have said that our current system that we’re running initially was installed with the intent to supply two small villages which was at the time Placencia and Seine Bight but since then we all know, Belizeans, that tourism has taken an uphill turn for our country and obviously we saw that coming as a team and planned for the eventuality.”
The BWS Chief Operations Officer, Sanjay Keshwani, explains that the landowner and BWS have already begun negotiations to try to get the ball rolling. Access to the well will provide an additional source of water to improve the current water shortage in the village.
Sanjay Keshwan, Chief Operations Officer, Belize Water Services Limited: “Our directors are diligently working with them so we can get a formal approval. Once we get approval you’re looking at maybe one or two days for supply and install pumps, motor generators, lighting and start to get the water from there. So we’re hoping by next week Monday/ Tuesday we got everything under control and we can start to run instead of four trips from Dangriga we can start to run at least six to eight trips from Riversdale to our tank in Seine Bight and that should eliminate the current shortfall between demand and supply.”