The Guana Bay water tank.
~ Guana Bay water tank operational this week ~
PHILIPSBURG–Minister with responsibility for utilities company GEBE Christopher Wever says significant improvements are being made to the country’s electricity and water supply systems.
He told reporters at the live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday that the supply and storage of water for St. Maarten has been inadequate for several years. Prior to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, there was already a need for improvements. The damage caused by these hurricanes made this need to invest in the water infrastructure even more critical, Wever noted.
“Due to the hard work and dedication of several individuals we will witness the addition of the Guana Bay tank, which will go into full operation this week. This additional water tank is only a first step in the improvement plans for the water network,” he said.
Preparations are currently being made to start construction of the Lowlands water tank, which is expected to be completed by February next year. Once the installation is done, that tank will be commissioned by mid-March. At the same time, construction work on the water tank at Claude Estate will be ongoing and will be completed by February 2020 for commissioning by the end of February.
In Philipsburg, work has begun to connect the Pointe Blanche main line to Sundial School. The intention is to have this work completed by mid-December this year, Wever said.
“We will also begin constructing an additional pump line on December 1 this year that will be completed by the end of March 2020 and will go into service by the end of May.
“It is essential to have a properly functioning water supply system that our people can rely on in cases of disasters such as the aftermath of major hurricanes and in cases where properties are being affected by fires. We must strive to ensure that our infrastructure developments consider the logistics of an ever-expanding community and that it is built to be long-lasting. I believe every home in St. Maarten should have access to adequate, clean and a steady flow of drinking water,” Wever said.
The supply of electricity, he noted, is also being improved. “NV GEBE is on track to complete the first phase of a cross-bonding project that will significantly reduce the company’s energy loss. This project also considers the growing population and the amount of energy output needed to power each home.”
GEBE has had several cases of cable faults in its transmission lines over the past few years. GEBE recently investigated the source of the problem and found that it would have to employ a method known as cross-bonding.
This involves connecting cable conductors with special joints that will allow GEBE to cross-return these conductors between phases, thereby significantly reducing the loss of energy. The process of cross-bonding will be carried out on all high voltage lines that are longer than one kilometre.
“It is important to note that GEBE technicians were specially trained over a gruelling two-week period and have been certified to install the cross-bonding splices by BEPECT Ltd. experts from Den Haag. As I said, the first step was finding the source of the problem, then solving that problem,” Wever noted.