A Water Plan Full of Holes?

A Water Plan Full of Holes?

The 103FM Editorial 12 01 18

Have you ever heard or read something and questioned whether it’s factual or if someone’s messing with you? There’s no doubt that you did at some time. We had that reaction yesterday to a newspaper headline stating boldly that WASA was actively pursuing a possible joint venture into selling bottled water. Not water to wash clothes or take a shower but bottles of water for drinking purposes. According to the report, Public Utilities Minister, Robert Le Hunt said his Ministry was looking at business and investment opportunities. He said in essence, that WASA was continuing to explore ways to earn revenue and reduce its dependence on State subventions.

Now, our first thought based on that pronouncement is, how is the utility supposed to reduce dependence on government handouts if it is broke? Wouldn’t the state have to cough up millions of dollars more to finance this venture if WASA had none to invest therefore increasing dependence on subventions? Or is it planning to take a loan from the bank? So that justification in our humble opinion is of no consequence. One could also argue that WASA has proven repeatedly that it is unable to successfully turn its operations into a viable entity therefore an investment in a water bottling plant would be just another white elephant.

The plan also raises questions about WASA’s operations all along. The entity is charged with the responsibility of providing potable water across the country, yet we all know they consistently fall short of acceptable standards, for both the provision of the service and for its quality when they actually do. So how would an organisation that already has questions over its head expect to infiltrate and gain market share in the already saturated bottled water industry?

What has us most appalled though, is the fact that this is not product diversification nor a downstream service. This is a company signalling its intent to provide a product that is a direct competitor to its mainstream service. So if this were to happen, where would the authority’s vested interest be – the business of bottled water or to provide an acceptable standard via the nation’s taps? One counteracts the other, and any interest in raising their standard of pipe-borne water would obviously be detrimental to their bottled-water escapade.

We believe WASA should focus on raising the standard of service they provide presently instead of attempting any commercial venture like this. Provide a reliable and safe supply to all and clean up its inefficiencies. Water in a bottle from WASA is nothing to be optimistic about, especially when all we get from our taps is mauby. Pardon the pun but the authority’s scheme to get into the bottling business just doesn’t hold water.


January 12th, 2018

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