ABACO, BAHAMAS — Water restoration efforts are progressing on Abaco almost two years since the passage of Hurricane Dorian.
Executive Chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Adrian Gibson said the COVID-19 pandemic has created logistical issues and impeded work but the corporation is on target.
“COVID has had the greatest impact. Without COVID, we would have probably been done with our restoration,” said Gibson. “With the lockdowns, not much work could be done — travel, building these tanks, etc.”
Gibson, along with Elwood Donaldson, general manager, and Cyprian Gibson, assistant general manager (AGM), Family Island Division, inspected ongoing works during a visit Monday, March 29.
Broken pipes of 14 side streets along Don McKay Boulevard in Marsh Harbour have been changed, WSC reported.
Executive Chairman Gibson noted: “Hurricane Dorian caused massive damage to our distribution system. Prior to the hurricane, we would have lost water due to leaky pipes. This is going to restore the pressure to give Abaconians good pressure through their pipes and cause the water to not be lost in the ground as opposed to going to the houses.”
This project is on schedule to be completed by mid-April and similar work will be carried out in the settlements of Dundas and Murphy Town, WSC said.
Treasure Cay Well Field
The company also said a new tank is under construction on the well field in Treasure Cay that will also service Green Turtle Cay. This tank will have a capacity of 750,000 imperial gallons, tripling that of the previous tank destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, and will be constructed simultaneously with the one in Marsh Harbour.
The AGM explained that the site received extensive damage and the entire tank that supplies Green Turtle Cay and Treasure Cay was destroyed.
“In the interim, we had to mitigate and put measures in place to operate it without a tank; this hampers operation,” said Cyprian Gibson. “This tank is scheduled to be completed soon. Until it is fully in operation, their (residents’) supply will be affected in the evening.”
The executive chairman pointed out that, regarding the corporation’s operations, the strength comes from its storage capacity.
“At this site, we don’t have the capacity to really store any water, so we have to keep pumping and regenerating,” he explained. “This is 45,000 gallons but this is a drop in the bucket to what they need. [There was] a 250,000 gallon tank and even that was lower than their needs. They had outgrown that.
“So, now we are meeting and exceeding that with this new tank. The 250,000 imperial gallon tank completely blown away by the storm — one way or the other, that was a blessing in disguise — so now we are going to put in place new storage facilitates that anticipate growth for Green Turtle Cay, Treasure Cay and the surrounding areas.”
Green Turtle Ferry Dock
WSC has been conducting assessments of the underwater pipe that connects Green Turtle Cay’s water supply to the Treasure Cay water system. This pipe travels under the sea to Green Turtle Cay and is secured by concrete mats.
Executive Chairman Gibson said: “We’ve discovered that there has been much damage to those mats by Hurricane Dorian. Our intention is to correct that while doing various tests along the length of the pipe. This pipe carries water to Green Turtle Cay.
“There is no independent system on Green Turtle Cay because the water table is very salty. The corporation thought it very feasible to run this pipe. Right now, the pipe is serving its function. We cannot leave it in its current state or it would further deteriorate and the mats would move away.
“We expect to get that done over the next six months or so. Everything is depending on budget. We’re working on the funding and once we can get that, we will carry out that process. We want to take these corrective steps so that the situation doesn’t worsen.”