A multi-million dollar project to bring clean pipe-borne water to residents of Dennery reached a significant milestone on Monday when Phase One of the Dennery Water Supply Redevelopment Project was officially commissioned.
The Dennery-North Water Treatment Plant was constructed with a US$5 million grant from the Government of Mexico.
Phase One included the design, procurement and construction of a raw water intake, transmission pipelines, a water treatment plant, pumping stations and distribution systems.
The project is meant to bring a clean and reliable supply of water to approximately 8000 Dennery residents who have been plagued by chronic water shortages and poor water quality for decades.
In his remarks at Monday’s ceremony, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet thanked the government of Mexico for its support of the project.
“It’s a shame and an indictment on all of us that it has taken so many years for us to be able to bring this project to fruition,” Chastanet added.
The Caribbean Development Bank has approved a US$11.2 million loan to complete Phase Two of the Dennery Water Supply Redevelopment Project.
Chastanet wants works on that phase of the project to commence “as quickly as possible” but he revealed that the process has been plagued by bureaucratic hurdles.
“We really wanted to be able to get the work done outside of the hurricane season. So it was our ambition to actually have had the second phase of the projected start in January but unfortunately, due to bureaucracy, we were not able to do so. But I am very happy to say that, in our discussions with CDB, CDB has agreed to allow us to advance the project. So the government of St Lucia will advance monies in order to facilitate the rapid recommencement of this project,” Chastanet said.
Chastanet said the government was able to “convince the powers that be to be able to use more local contractors rather than keeping it concentrated with one contractor and particularly to be able to use contractors here from the valley.”
Mexico Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Videgaray Caso said Mexico was proud to be associated with the water project for Dennery North.
“Let me give you the more important reason why Mexico is part of this project here at Dennery-North,” he said. “It’s quite simple. We are friends. And we want you to think about Mexico as a friend. And this is only to show that a friendship that didn’t start with this project and certainly will not end with this project.”
Parliamentary Representative for Dennery-North Shawn Edward said it was a day that all residents must be proud of. He said the poor water quality posed a serious health risks to members of the community.
“The problem in Dennery-North is particularly bad, it is chronic. It is unacceptable and that was the basis for the government of St Lucia to approach the Mexican government to get this water project going,” Edward said.