Central Committee Saba discusses water, gasoline situation, Makana Ferry

THE BOTTOM – Members of the Island Council raised several issues during the Central Committee meeting on Tuesday, September 26, such as the water supply, the gasoline interruption, the Makana ferry, the reforestation project, the vision for Saba and transparency in government.

Present at Tuesday’s Central Committee meeting, which was chaired by Elsa Peterson, were Vito Charles and Saskia Matthew. Prior to the handling of the second budget amendment, the members made use of the opportunity to pose questions to the Executive Council.

Charles asked about the production of reverse osmosis (RO) water, which recently had to be halted due to the large groundswells. He wanted to know what was being done to mitigate the situation whereby the intake pipe has to be removed in case of big groundswells. Seeing the temporary water shortage on the island, Charles asked whether there was sufficient storage capacity and whether there were plans to expand this.

“How does the Executive Council look at reducing the risk of minimizing interruptions in water production in general? What is being done to reduce the risk of an interruption in water production in the future, especially considering that the most recent interruption occurred during the peak of the hurricane season and a severe drought?”

Increased costs

Charles further asked how the Saba Splash drinking water facility was affected and why the filling stations in Windwardside and Hell’s Gate were not running. He enquired what was being done to compensate drivers for the increased costs of trucking water since the fuel prices and other business-related costs have increased since the $60 price per 1,000 gallons truck load was originally introduced.

Commissioner Bruce Zagers explained that the government was negotiating with the Netherlands to expand the storage capacity. Increasing the storage capacity of RO water, while much needed, was not the only solution. He said that several projects were in preparation to bring stability and improve functionality.

The pumping capacity on the existing pipelines will be enhanced to increase the speed of moving the water, which will allow the cisterns to fill up faster.

Makana Ferry

Councilman Charles asked about the Makana Ferry. “For some time, the Samantha is being used for ferry services. How is the use of an alternative boat regulated in the contract?” He enquired about the video on social media where an incident with the Samantha took place during rough seas.

Commissioner Zagers said that there were general concerns about the quality of service provided by the Makana Ferry, and that shortly the use of the backup vessel instead of the Makana, as well as some other issues, would be discussed with the provider. 

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