Blue satin ribbon set against a mixed backdrop of tropical greenery and a sunlit Atlantic Ocean provided the ideal settings for what was the official commissioning of the Blaize Rain Water Harvesting System on July 28.
Through the vision of NAWASA, support from the Government of Grenada and the generosity of the German Government through the German Pilot Programme “Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strategies (ICCAS) funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, through GIZ, the community of Blaize officially became the beneficiary of Grenada’s first Community Based Rainwater Harvesting System.
Among officials present were Minister of Public Utilities, Gregory Bowen, Minister for Agriculture, Yolande Bain-Horsford, Minister for Sports, Roland Bhola, Margit Potgier, Honorary Consul for the Federal Republic of Germany, Dieter Rothenberger, Head of GIZ – ICCAS in Grenada, representatives from NAWASA’s Board of Directors, Ministries of Agriculture and Finance and residents of Blaize in St. Andrew.
The ceremony was addressed by Minister Bowen, tasked with the responsibility for Public Utilities, who shared the expectations from this new system.
“This important addition and with their practice of water management I am comforted that the water needs of this community will be met. No more would the residents of Blaize depend on a fortnightly supply from NAWASA’s water tankers. No longer shall we hear repeated calls for a piped network that is comparable to other communities within the tri-island state. Today we reveal an alternative for water production and supply in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique”, he said.
Minister Bhola referred to the project as “the realisation of a significant goal for the community” and “a watershed achievement in Grenada’s history”.
“Entering politics as a Senator, and being aware of the adversities faced by residents of Blaize in regards to water, I vowed that I will do whatever it took to ensure that the residents receive an adequate supply. Fourteen years, and an umpteen number of failed projects later, I am elated to still be here to share with you this moment in history”, he said.
NAWASA’s General Manager, Christopher Husbands who also spoke mentioned that the journey was a long time coming, recalling that he has been hiking the roads of Blaize when he was an engineer before he became General Manager of NAWASA.
“My travails were put on pause three years ago when I proposed this project during an inaugural meeting between myself and Mr. Dieter Rothenberger – Head of the German/Grenada Pilot Programme. I knew from that very meeting that this was the answer I have been searching for all along. Finally, we are able to meet the greatest need of the Blaize residents simultaneously giving teeth to our tagline, committed to meeting customers’ needs”, he said.
Honorary Consul for the Federal Republic of Germany, Margit Potgier pointed out that she is blissful to be able to witness such a historic moment for the people of Grenada.
“Germany is a strong advocate of Climate Change Strategies and having a small island as Grenada as a partner in such an important matter is a big deal. Rain Water Harvesting is one way that we can adapt to Climate Change – this is why this project is evidently a major one for us”, she said.
Among the many immediate benefits of the EC $370, 000 project is that of providing a more reliable water supply to satisfy the domestic needs of the residents and improved hygienic conditions in their homes.
The storing of rain water is done in a 50,000 gallon reinforced concrete tank.
NAWASA’s Board of Directors made the decision to waive the connection fee for the residents.