April 28, 2003 St. John's water demand has increased a dramatic 183 percent from 1991 to 2002, Water and Power Authority Executive Director Alberto Bruno-Vega told the Authority board at Monday's special meeting to discuss the island's water problems.
The board approved, in concept, a proposal to increase St. John's water supply by extending the potable water lines to the East End of St. Thomas at Red Hook, and laying the St. John flexible water pipeline.
Bruno-Vega said that in 1991 when the Authority installed the Iraeli Desalination Unit 7, the St. John demand was 31.5 million gallons per year. In 2002, the St. John demand was almost twice that 57.8 million gallons per year.
Though over time WAPA has analyzed many solutions to St. John's water shortage situation, including rehabilitation of well fields, barging and purchase of another St. John water plant, Bruno-Vega said the extension of water lines to the East End in conjunction with a submarine pipe was the most viable solution.
He said the project would provide a reliable water supply to St. John, and utilize the excess water production capacity on St. Thomas. He said a financial analysis utilizing the net present value, profitability index and the discounted pay back period criteria, indicated this was the best plan.
The plan has been broken down into three phases: phase 1a will go from Foster Plaza to Emerald Hill; phase 1b will go from Emerald Hill to Sugar Bay Hotel; phase 3 will go from Sugar Bay Hotel to Red Hook.
Phase 1a has been contracted to E. D. Plumbing. Contracts for the other phases will be issued soon, the executive director said.
The water line will be laid at the same time that the Authority lays the Little St. James underground electric cable. (See "Panel OK's WAPA electrical link to private island.")
The underwater cables will be installed after hurricane season, Bruno-Vega said.
The project will be financed through the St. John Capital Improvement Fund, grants and the electrical system repayment of its loan obtained from the water system, he said.
In other action, the board approved:
– A line of credit from Foster Wheeler in lieu of a performance bond for the major overhaul of St. Croix Unit 11.
– Resolutions for the anticipated 2003 bond issuance.
– Repayment of water system lines of credit.
– Matching employee contributions for Relay for Life Drive.
– Approval of a contract addendum with Ernst Young for revisions to the levelized energy adjustment clause (LEAC) filings.
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