CDB approves funding to improve water supply in The Bahamas

On Thursday, December 10, The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved financing to support the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in its effort to improve the water supply systems serving communities on New Providence and six Family Islands. The Water Supply Improvement Project is funded by a USD 28.33 million loan.

The loan includes an allocation of USD12.4 million in resources provided by the European Investment Bank to CDB under the Climate Action Line of Credit. The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will contribute USD13.3 million to the project.

“CDB is pleased to make this significant investment in the Water Sector in The Bahamas to give the people of New Providence and the Family Islands better access to a reliable, climate-resilient supply of safe, quality water. This project will also help improve the long-term sustainability of the country’s water supply, which is needed for sustained economic growth,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB.

Several communities across The Bahamas, particularly within the Family Islands, rely on water from private wells, tanker trucks and rainwater harvesting to meet most of their domestic needs. Some depend on bottled water for cooking and drinking.

This situation is compounded by deteriorating water supply mains on the Family Islands, due to age, inadequate depth of placement, and the use of inappropriate materials. These factors have contributed to a high level of non-revenue water—water lost through leaks or that is not billed to customers—across the Family Islands.

“We are particularly grateful for the assistance within the Family islands. CDB is acutely cognizant of the problem we face in duplicating resources in sparsely populated islands which can be prohibitively expensive,” said Christine Thompson, Alternate Director for The Bahamas, CDB.

The Water Supply Improvement Project will undertake a range of activities, including

  • acquiring approximately 30 acres of land for siting water production facilities
  • upgrading supply and distribution systems by replacing existing mains and installing new mains and ancillary equipment; constructing storage tanks and pump stations; developing well fields; and providing a tanker truck for transporting water by road in San Salvador
  • technical assistance in creating a public education and awareness programme regarding the importance of having a safe supply of drinking water; a change management and human resources support program; an assessment of photovoltaic potential to improve energy efficiency

The project will also include technical assistance to support the Government of The Bahamas in its efforts to avoid, adapt to and mitigate the negative impacts of Climate Variability and Climate Change on water. Such impacts include changes in seasonal availability and distribution of freshwater; contamination of groundwater due to saltwater intrusion; and water shortages due to increased drought frequency and severity. Technical assistance will be provided for the development of a Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and an Adaptation Plan of Action.

The proposed project is consistent with The Bahamas Country Strategy Paper (2013-2017) and with CDB’s corporate priorities to strengthen and modernise economic and social infrastructure; and to promote environmental sustainability.