Business

Aqua Design to shut down Eleuthera plant

Company notifies of its intention to stop water production in Central Eleuthera today

Aqua Design Bahamas said it will cease water production in Central Eleuthera beginning today after the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) failed to negotiate a new contract as per the order of a recent court ruling.

Justice Indra Charles ruled that Aqua Design rightfully terminated its agreement to provide water supply to WSC following its failure to pay money owed since last year.

However, she stayed her judgement until today at 2:30 pm.

“Per the recent ruling of the Bahamian courts, our contract for the operation of the plant on Central Eleuthera has been terminated. The execution of the judgement was delayed until September 10 to give WSC and Aqua Design Bahamas an opportunity to negotiate a new contract. However, we have not received a response from WSC to our proposed new contract,” Aqua said in a release yesterday.

“As such, and barring any change in position by WSC, Aqua Design Bahamas will cease production of water from this plant on September 10, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. If you have any questions about the plan to continue water service to the Central Eleuthera community, please contact WSC directly at 302-5500.”

When contacted by this newspaper for comment yesterday, WSC General Manager Elwood Donaldson said he could not speak before abruptly ending the call.

Guardian Business also reached out to leaders in the business community, as well as the island administrator, who were shocked by the revelation.

WSC has contracted with Aqua Design Bahamas for more than 15 years, the company noted in the release, creating a supply of drinking water that the government has then provided to its residents in various communities across The Bahamas.

Last October, Aqua Design cut off the water supply to customers after it said its many demands for arrears of payment were not met.

The company said it had notified WSC in May 2020 that its arrears were growing at a disturbing rate, and that WSC was unresponsive on the issue of providing a concrete schedule of payments to address the arrears.

Those arrears amounted to $644,010.12 at the time.

WSC took Aqua Design to court arguing that the water supply company was unreasonable in cutting supply at a time when the government’s resources were taxed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While payment was made shortly after, Justice Indra Charles said in her August ruling that WSC continued to be delinquent with payment at least up to April this year.

Justice Charles ruled that there is no legal basis to prevent Aqua Design from switching off its supply of water if the arrears are not paid within a reasonable time frame, and there is also no legal basis for Aqua to give WSC sufficient time to secure another supplier before it does so.

While the government owns the land on which the Aqua Design water plant is situated, the company owns all of its equipment and has advised it intends to dismantle the plant.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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