Fri 11th Jul 2014

Weak economy causing drinking water crisis in SVG

The economic situation in SVG is so severe that many households have no income to pay water bills and have had their water supply cut off. These households are desperately trying to sustain the lives of their family.

On 1st July 2014, the Leader of SVG Green Party, Mr Ivan O'Neal and Miss Susan Simon, the SVG Green Party candidate for North Windward, were called to the home of a young mother in the Bay road area of North Windward. The young mother explained that her piped water had been cut off by CWSA and that she and her young baby have been left stranded without drinking water.

The young woman is aware that she cannot drink the river water, because the river water is polluted upstream with chemicals and it would harm her and her baby. She is having to beg neighbours for a bucket of drinking water to keep herself and her baby alive, as there is no standpipe in her area.

She has asked SVG Green Party to raise the alarm bell about the desperate situation, she and many other households are in, having had their water cut off by CWSA. As it is an emergency and a crisis, she is asking for one or two water standpipes to be fitted in the Bay road area of the North Windward constituency. Unemployment is very high in this area and people cannot pay their water bills.

The young mother cannot afford the $100 dollars for the water reconnection fee and the high water prices. The grave situation of the young mother and her baby being without drinking water is replicated throughout the country. These households have been ignored by the ULP regime and the whole water situation needs to be addressed urgently.

For many households, the monthly water meter rental charge of $14 and monthly environmental fee of $11 is more than the cost of the actual water the household uses. This is senseless and causing a drinking water crisis as households are having their water cut off.

A Green government would bring smart meters to SVG which use the key charge system. Households could then pay as they go and top up (as people do with mobile phones) their water meter key whenever they wanted, in amounts that were affordable to them, from $1 upwards. This way, no household in SVG would ever have their water cut off again and there would be no bills at the end of the month.

A Green government would also cut the price of water by 50% and abolish the water meter rental charge. The reconnection charge of $100 would be abolished too, because with smart meters, it would be redundant. We would take the monthly $11 environmental fee out of the water bill to help poor households and induce an environmental fee of $11 on tourists as part of the departure tax.

The cost of the lower water price and installing of smart meters will be funded by exporting excess drinking water abroad. The only reason why any household in SVG is not connected to mains water is because we have a grossly incompetent ULP government that lacks vision and innovation.

Our country is in crisis, because the ULP regime has wrecked the economy. As a short-term, emergency remedy, SVG Green Party calls on the ULP regime to install many more standpipes throughout the country.

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