Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor, Cornelius de Weever signed on behalf of the government of St. Maarten, while Franklyn Richards, Managing Director, signed on behalf of the Seven Seas Water and Ivan Solomon and Ir. Romelio Maduro signed on behalf of the water and electricity company GEBE.
The three-way agreement is a sub agreement of the Water Supply Agreement between Government and Seven Seas Water for the supply of water produced by the reverse osmosis plants of Seven Seas Water in Cay Bay and Cupecoy. The Water Supply Agreement specifies the water volumes to be supplied, the quality includes also the supply of two tanks intended to upgrade the total drinking water storage capacity on the island. Payment of the tanks have been spread over the term of ten years, 2008-2018.
Minister De Weever mentioned the importance of having the necessary infrastructure in place for the supply of drinking water to the general public, essential to guarantee public health. The Public Health department is working on all aspects of the water supply. The periodic inspection of the quality of drinking water has started, and the water storage capacity will increase. The expansion of the water production is being addressed. A new master plan for the production and distribution of water will be commissioned to establish the future needs and investments. And once the results and investments are known the water financials and consumer tariffs will be analyzed.
The three-way agreement provides detailed arrangements of the supply, installation, commissioning, operation and ownership of the two water tanks. Each tank has a capacity of 3000 m3. The tanks are constructed of double sided "glass-fused" steel. The fused glass enables a protecting layer with no oxidation of the inner surface and as result safe storage of drinking water with no discoloration, as well as a low maintenance outside tank surface, reducing therefore the cost of operations and maintenance. The tanks will be built to withstand high winds experienced in hurricanes as well as for seismic tremors in earthquake prone areas.
In complying with the agreement Government issued in long lease the parcel of land for the water tanks in Pointe Blanche, while SSW will supply and construct the tanks, with GEBE building the foundation and supervising the entire project. Once completed, the tanks will be owned by government and operated and maintained by GEBE.
Government, GEBE and SSW are pleased that the project is now moving forward because the tanks will improve the water storage and distribution system for the people of St. Maarten. The installation of additional water storage will also take some pressure off of the reverse osmosis plants, which until a new plant is built, will be operating practically nonstop.
The Point Blanche tank is expected to take 8-10 weeks to manufacture and deliver to the island and construction will commence soon after. Once in operation the tanks will add to the present storage capacity and will service the area of Pointe Blanche, the Harbor, Philipsburg and surrounding areas. The location of the two tanks is also in considering the Pointe Blanche Harbor area as the location for a new water production plant.