Utilities Minister says bottled water article “premature”
Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte said a recent news article claiming that Government was starting its own line of bottled water is ‘premature’.
In a statement issued Monday, Le Hunte referred to a Newsday article entitled “Bottled Water for All “by Nalinee Seelal and published in the January 11th edition of the Newsday, and subsequent Newsday editorial of January 12th, 2018.
The Ministry said while Le Hunte did grant an interview, the published article seems to infer that the Minister had given a mandate to WASA to get into the bottled water industry as one means of generating additional revenue.
"This is not accurate since no such directive was given by the Minister to the Utility," the Ministry said.
"The facts are, that in all his conversations and interactions with the Board and Management of WASA, the Honourable Minister has implored the Utility to continue to explore options for increasing its revenue flows, including, but not limited to, engaging in an aggressive collection drive of some of the debt owed to the Utility."
"As a consequence, all options to increase revenues are being considered at the level of WASA’s management and board. The concept of ‘bottled water for all ‘is therefore premature."
"The Honourable Minister has also underscored the need for the Utility to increase efficiencies and eliminate waste in the organization as other means of reducing its dependency on the state’s coffers."
"It is no secret that Government’s annual subvention to WASA is in the region of 3 billion dollars per annum, while revenue collection is approximately 800 million."
The Ministry added that there is as yet no 'definitive position' on a bottled water initiative.
"It should be noted that the idea of bottled water is not a new one considered by WASA, but at the moment there is no definitive position on this venture by the Utility."
"The Ministry of Public Utilities, in collaboration with WASA will soon be launching two new initiatives geared to improving efficiencies. These are the WASA mobile application which customers can utilize as an interface for number of options, including bill payments and lodging complaints, as well as aggressive leak repair management programme," the Ministry said.