Tobago’s water supply is set to be significantly increased by the end of the year 2019 with the commencement of upgrade works on the Hillsborough Dam, Mt. St George, Tobago, the THA Division of Settlements Urban Renewal and Public Utilities said yesterday.
The dam which was commissioned in 1952, has been the major source of drinking water for the island of Tobago, having the largest water storage capacity on the island.
However, for a significant period of time, the dam has been storing thirty percent below its intended capacity of 220 million gallons of water.
Minister of Public Utilities, Senator Robert Le Hunte and Secretary for the Division of Settlements, Urban Renewal and Public Utilities, Assemblyman Clarence Jacob met with the Water and Sewerage Authority’s (WASA’s) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ellis Burris and a team of Executives of the Authority at the Hillsborough Dam on Monday 19th November, 2019 where a timeline of two years was proposed for the upgrade works to be conducted.
Minister Le Hunte emphasised the Government’s commitment to funding the project, estimated at $150 million dollars, and upon completion the Hillsborough Dam’s water storage capacity for Tobago will increase by as much as 60- 70 million gallons of water.
“The project will take about two years for its full benefits to be achieved. However, significant benefits will start to accrue to Tobago by the end of 2019 and into 2020. We can expect incremental benefits along the way in improving the island’s water supply,” Minister Le Hunte explained.
The upgrade timeline includes the commencement of enabling works for de-silting which is expected to begin in February-March 2019 for a period of 6 months.
“The whole de-silting to increase the dam’s storage capacity to 66 million gallons should be completed in two years but hopefully within one year we hope to achieve about 60 to 70 percent of that”, Minister Le Hunte noted.
“So the benefit to Tobagonians in terms of water improvement will start in the latter part of 2019 into 2020. Required works include the improvement of the transmission lines, and the upgrade of the water treatment plant. Overall this project could cost about $150 Million dollars but we think it’s an investment in the infrastructure and Tobago’s development plans.”
Secretary Jacob intimated that the Hillsborough Dam upgrade project remains one of the Tobago House of Assembly’s priority projects and expressed his desire to see its far reaching benefits.
“I think two years is sufficient for us and I know that this dam will benefit people on the island significantly especially west of the island which is highly populated with hotels and guest houses. So once these works are completed it will increase water production and I know Minister Le Hunte will be proud to see that after so many years of conversation, we brought this to completion”, Secretary Jacob said.