Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Seychelles Column - By Christopher Gill

When Rain Is Gold To Seychelles
Recently PUC officially announced that our water storage-catchment was down to 62% capacity. With -2% of total stored water in Seychelles being used per day, it meant that we have less than 30 days of water left. A crisis is at hand.
In early morning visit at Eden Island, I turned a faucet on to wash my hands and air burst out, no water, what water there in the line ended up on my shirt and trousers. Not a very 5 Star incident at all.

Water On Mahe
Households throughout Mahe were rationing water in June. Businessmen started to have a grave concern on their face that we have all seen too many times in the past. They all knew we were running out of water. They all know the desalination plants are either broken or not functioning and money has been wasted in the millions of dollars.
The problem has been with us for years. PUC publically blame car washers for the problem and consumers who flush toilets and brush their teeth with the taps on. All good and well, but the blame for the problem rests squarely on the SPPF/PP failure to plan properly and implement a serious program to develop our water catchment and storage capacity as a nation in the face of imminent development anticipated with projects like Eden Island, Four Seasons, Sheik Khalifa’s palaces, Ephelia Resort, Raffles, Shangri –La etc... . 80% of all water that flows from our rivers ends up in the sea. 80% of water piped for reservoirs is lost in the pipeline along the way because of faulty pipes and leaks. The entire system needs to be redone. You do not need a French technician from Suez Group on a Two (2) year Scr.128 Million contract fixed at 19.0 Scr -1.0 Euro to figure that out.

Eden Island Has No Water Reservoir Infrastructure
On Eden Island, they have not placed any water reservoirs. The developers have avoided the issue, to save money negligently. As a result, they rely on the Mahe infrastructure which has not been upgraded in terms of storage capacity since the 1970’s when Mancham’s government built Rochon and La Gogue dams. Mancham was bent on developing infrastructure to increase development capacity for Seychelles. For that, we salute him. Mancham focused first on infrastructure and then he focused on GDP growth because that is what must be done. In other words, PP before you run, you must first crawl, then walk. You need to keep that order. If you try to run before you can crawl or walk, you may end up with your face in the dirt.
As Eden Island brings more houses on line and increase capacity, they will be carrying buckets of water on their heads like most of Mahe does periodically from time to time when faced with a prolonged dry season. Unless of course they contribute in a serious manner to establishing their own water storage infrastructure.

Water On Praslin
Praslin has only Three (3) days of water storage capacity. With Raffles massive grotesque project coming on line with 2000 Indian workers or 1/3 increase of the population of Praslin, things will get worse. Unless of course Raffles is made to pay for infrastructure upgrades. Building their own desalination plant is not enough, because when their plant breaks down, they will fall back to the existing infrastructure for water. They must pay their way as they enter to use our water. Did Michel not ever think about that?

Water On La Digue
Much of La Digue relies on pit wells. With the lack of a proper sewage treatment plant and lines, the chances of pit wells becoming contaminated is high. La Digue has a desalination plant but water shortages are serious there as well. The main issue is the lack of adequate catchment and water storage. It is as if the SPPF/PP knows we need water, but they do not know that water needs to be contained under catchment. The price of fuel and the costs associated with desalination process makes it non feasible for bankrupt Seychelles, on a long term basis. You do not have to be an engineer to know that; you only have to be a sensible person of basic logical ability to understand that.

Gold Falls From The Sky
As SPPF/PP has failed to build adequate water catchment infrastructure, when it rains, gold falls from the sky. Luckily for us, this year it rained in June and not in September. Had it rained only in September, Seybrew would have shut down, IOT would halt operations, hotels would close down and refund clients money, Eden Island sales would drop, Air Seychelles would drop in sales, we would all have been out of business for a time and back to the business strategy of cutting losses instead of maximizing profits. The Government of Seychelles would have very likely collapsed, with Four (4) months of no revenue from taxes. Though they could issue a bond for water works that Sheik Khalifa could buy and Government of Seychelles, bankrupt as it is, could guarantee with some beachfront land or another lovely mountain view top with 360 degree view of Mahe.
For now, Government of Seychelles has bought a little time, from a little rain dance at State House.
Whatever dance it was, this wiggle has been worthwhile. Keep on dancing SPPF/PP and hopefully the gold will keep falling, since you have no catchments.

Sesel Pou Seselwa!
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois!


Anonymous said...

This SPPF Government of Rene and Michel is a joke, have always been a joke, and will always be a joke. They have taken the SEychellois people for a ride for 34 years and continue to laugh all the way to the bank while we bathe our children in muddy water, or in the case of the La Misere residents, in shit water. Time to vote these losers out once and for all so that we can start planning a real future for the people of SEyhcelles.

Anonymous said...

PUC has announced it will place 500 litres water tanks throughout La Digue.

That will make La Digue look like an industrial zone site.

Good for business I suppose they think.

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