- The most vexing issue faced by my Government in the past decade has been a drought of epic proportions, the very worst in 100 years of record-keeping. Global climate change is the identified culprit. The absence of adequate rainfall since 2014 has meant that our stored water resources—whether dams, reservoirs, ponds, cisterns, tanks or drums—have been exhausted by use, without adequate rainfall to refill or to re-supply the precious substance. The Antigua population then looks, reasonably, to the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) to meet the potable water needs of our island-State. The new Minister has utilized his tried and tested superior management skills to change the circumstances; my Government has faith in his abilities to achieve the desired outcomes.
My Government has spent more than USD100 million to purchase new Reverse Osmosis plants and to provide costly maintenance to the existing plants; yet, the APUA has not been able to reach the levels of production that satisfy the demand for potable water island-wide. APUA can produce by way of its plants, approximately 7.5 million gallons of potable water daily. The demand for water exceeds that amount by at least 4.5 million gallons daily. The APUA attempt to ration water and to publicize daily a rationing schedule, aimed at assuring the communities that water would be available for fixed hours each day, was very noble. A number of residents are of the view that it did not work as well as the APUA intended.
Tropical Storm Felipe and Hurricane Tammy provided significant rainfall that caused many dams, reservoirs, ponds and storage systems to collect considerable quantities of fresh water. Those events have changed the dynamics and made the availability of 12 million gallons of potable water, daily, less challenging for APUA. New leadership and a new approach to water production at the APUA are sure to bring new energy and innovation to a challenged APUA Water Division.