Central Eleuthera residents were spared water service disconnection on Friday after a new contract was agreed between the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) and Aqua Design Bahamas at the last minute.
The water supplier issued a press release last week Thursday, stating it would cease production beginning Friday, September 10 at 2:30 p.m. after it had not received a response from WSC on its proposed new contract, as was required by a court ruling handed down by Justice Indra Charles last month.
WSC Chairman Adrian Gibson, when contacted by Guardian Business yesterday, said, “All matters are resolved as it relates to Aqua Design. The water was not cut off as was circulated on social media.”
Jessica Attanasio, who is the global communications director for Suez Water Technologies and Solutions, the company that owns Aqua Designs Bahamas, said the new contract was agreed just before the old one was set to terminate on Friday.
“Shortly before our contract for operations at the water treatment plant in Central Eleuthera was set to terminate, we received a new, signed contract from the Water & Sewerage Corporation,” she said in a written response to a Guardian Business inquiry.
“Under this contract, Aqua Design Bahamas will continue operations in Central Eleuthera. We look forward to continuing to serve the community.”
Guardian Business understands that in addition to a new contract, both parties agreed to a new payment schedule to address the arrears owed to Aqua Design by WSC.
The arrangement makes provisions for those arrears to be paid off by December.
Aqua Design has said it has sufficient guarantees of payment going forward.
Aqua Design Bahamas has had a contract with WSC for more than 15 years to supply it with potable water which the government then provides to residents in various communities throughout the Family Islands.
Last October, Aqua Design cut off the water supply to customers in Central Eleuthera, after it said its many demands for arrears of payment were not met.
As a result, the WSC took Aqua to court, arguing that the company should not have cut water supply at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and that payments were delayed as a result of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and as well as Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
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.