Grand Bahama’s potable water supply will likely not be of an internationally acceptable level until the end of summer, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Reconstruction Iram Lewis said on Monday.
As he explained that international standards for water TDS (total dissolved solids) is 1,000 ppm (parts per million), he said that the water supply on Grand Bahama has gone as high as 3,000 ppm after the storm.
“Prior to Dorian in Grand Bahama, we enjoyed a high quality of water, set to about 500 [ppm] to 600 [ppm],” Lewis said.
“Post-Dorian, TDS went to between 2,500 to 3,000 – salt water. We discovered that the major source, well-field number six, was mostly contaminated with salt water.
“As it stands now, it will take quite a while for that water to be totally run off. We’re looking at the end of summer according to Grand Bahama Utility Company.”
However, Lewis added that government’s ideal is for the Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBCU) to drill new freshwater wells to be connected to the main water supply by the end of March.
“We, however, discovered that…more in the Freeport area, there are freshwater wells,” he said.
“They have limited wells there now but the government is encouraging them to drill more wells so that the capacity can increase.”
He said that another area off the Grand Bahama Highway with an “abundance” of freshwater was also discovered, and added: “We are again encouraging the utility company to dredge wells there and tie it into the main water system so that we can return our quality, the potable quality, as soon as possible.
“Based on where we are now, we won’t get to that point until the end of summer. But we’re trying to push to get those ones in and connected to freshwater by end of March.”
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, who is also the MP for East Grand Bahama, had stern words for the Grand Bahama Utility Company as he urged it to provide potable water as soon as possible.
Non-governmental organizations like Samaritan’s Purse have been providing clean drinking water to residents of Grand Bahama in the meantime, however Samaritan’s Purse is expected to end its services on the island by March.
Lewis says GBUC should dredge new wells