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GM says government subvention not enough

GM says government subvention not enough

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Even if government were to pay all the money it owes the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA), there would still be a need for an increase in water rates.{{more}}

General Manager of the Authority Garth Saunders made this point at a press conference earlier this week during which he announced water rate hikes.

Saunders, responding to the Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings, who enquired about the cost of providing service to the government, as well as the percentage in terms of quantity of water supplied to government, said that he could only supply an estimate of the amount.

Last week, during his contribution to the 2012 budget debate, Cummings claimed that the statutory body that he once managed was raising rates, because the government does not pay its water bill.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, while wrapping up the Debate, rebutted that the government does not pay water bills, but instead gives a subvention of $1.4 million to the Authority.

Earlier in the press conference, Saunders said that the contribution was clearly not enough, and usually late.

“Government has committed to over the years supplying the Solid Waste Management Unit with $1.4 million annually and $1.1 million for the water supply… but as you know, the government is always slow to pay the CWSA, and in a way you can understand that. They believe that the CWSA have deep, pockets, but unfortunately for us, our pockets are not that deep and the CWSA would certainly like to have a more efficient and timely transfer of funds from the government.”

“We at the CWSA understand that even at if we received every bit of what is owed to us, our total revenue would still be $23.5 million and our debt servicing will still be 3.6 million… we would still be in a position where we need to increase water rates….”

Concerning the former manager’s enquiry, the current manager pointed out that because a number of government facilities were not metered, it was difficult to give actual figures of how much water is supplied to the government, but according to what is measured, the government is provided with between $4 to $5 million worth of service.

Saunders went on to say that a lot of the water supplied is usually wasted, and indicated that a metre placement and replacement program will soon be conducted.

“Schools need to be metered and need to be shown exactly where they are wasting water… you have leaks, you don’t report the leaks; the leaks get reported then they are not fixed, and we are supplying treated water to these facilities….”

Government facilities include playing fields, standpipes, hospitals and clinics, schools and other public offices.

Nine per cent of the CWSA’s water services revenue comes from government, and 40% of solid waste revenue.(JJ)

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