Marsh Harbour is set to receive the country’s first solar pump station, after the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) signed an agreement yesterday with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and non-profit organization Water Mission, for what will be called Abaco Sunny Waters.
National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Coordinator for UNICEF Marij Zwart, who was at the signing ceremony in Marsh Harbour yesterday, told Guardian Business that the initiative to solarize Marsh Harbour’s well field pump station will go a long way in making access to water more resilient on the island after storms like Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the island’s water infrastructure.
“What we’re going to do is build it back in a stronger, more resilient and more sustainable way without generators but with solar energy,” said Zwart.
“So this will reduce the footprint for Water and Sewerage, but also reduce the vulnerability and increase the resilience for future storms.
“The first step is the solarization of the Marsh Harbour well field.”
WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson, who was on hand in Abaco to sign the agreement with Water Mission and UNICEF, said the project is valued at $1.2 million and will involve other work tied in to more than $6 million of other contracts already awarded on the island for the remediation of WSC’s systems.
“As part of our building process, all of the new buildings and generator will be elevated to limit damage that could result from future storm surge,” said Gibson.
“The focus in all our rebuilding efforts is to design and construct climate resilient systems and facilities that can withstand future major storms.”
UNICEF’s National Coordinator Etoile Pinder added: “I am overjoyed that UNICEF has been able to assist in the planning, financing and coordination of Abaco Sunny Waters.
“This project is going to transform the island’s damaged water systems and ensure that out of Dorian’s destruction a newer, sustainable, more resilient infrastructure for Abaco is implemented.”
Pinder explained that along with the introduction of solar water pumping will be the introduction of the technology into Abaco schools as a partnership with the Ministry of Education.
Water Mission’s Director of
Disaster Response Mark Baker said the project will mean a brighter future or Abaco.
“We’re going to bring an aspect to this water pumping situation in Marsh Harbour which is going to allow the future,” he said.
Zwart added that UNICEF hopes to expand the project to other areas in Abaco and eventually use renewable energy to power the island’s sanitation system, which she said will be the first of its kind.