September 21, 2007

Vincentians to pay more for water

A minimum $1 price increase is expected to come into effect as of October 1st, for persons using over 2,500 gallons of water per month.{{more}}

This is according to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, speaking at the opening of the new water treatment and storage system on Wednesday in the Jennings Mountains.

Dr. Gonsalves stated that this increase is necessary, for the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) to remain solvent – a key requirement in accessing the 18 plus million dollar loan for the building of the Jennings station.

The Prime Minister however said that water; a public and social good, cannot run on commercial principles.

He referred to statements made by CWSA General Manager Garth Saunders that while some costs are being contained in certain areas, others are escalating beyond their control.

The Prime Minister assured that persons using less will pay ‘far less’ of an increase, but at the same time, Vincentians will have to conserve things of value in the household.

Persons using less that 2,500 gallons would not be expected to pay an increase, but between 2,500 and 5,000 will pay one dollar more. An increase is also expected in the solid waste sector as well.

Dr. Gonsalves did not state how much more persons using over 5,000 gallons will pay, but indicated that either himself or the CWSA will be making a public statement soon. He also indicated that another increase is expected soon – that of the minimum wage.

He said the wages committee is expected to meet with him in the near future, and hopefully by December 1st there will be an increase.

Saunders also made note of a number of projects being undertaken by the CWSA, and indicated that a rate review is in the works.

He later indicated to Searchlight that a press conference will be called soon, to bring Vincentians up to date on the increases.