Residents assured of water supply despite COVID-19 threat

PHILCHER GRANT GBPA Director of Group Corporate Affairs, and Geron Turnquest, GBUC, General Manager

Accessing clean water continues to be a concern for residents throughout the island, particularly as the country has confirmed its first three Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the nation’s capital. To that end, executives of the Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBUC) provided of preparatory measures the company will take during this crisis.

In a press conference Monday (March 16), Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Director of Group Corporate Affairs Philcher Grant said that officials are aware that persons are concerned about the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

 “Some people have even expressed a sense of fear over COVID-19,” she added; however, Grant assured that the GBUC would be there for the public every step of the way and all of Grand Bahama would get through this crisis together. 

“One thing I know about this island is, we’re nothing if not resilient,” she said. 

She furthered that over the past several weeks, the GBUC has been planning and preparing a preventative to this global threat. 

Noting that it is not only important to keep persons safe, but for persons to be responsible as well, Grant urged persons to be mindful not to circulate false information via social media sites. 

GBUC General Manager Geron Turnquest further assured that residents will continue to have water supply to take care of their hygienic and other needs.

He added that work on the wells are still ongoing to ensure that the water is potable by May 2020. 

Turnquest said that all water sites will remain open and maintained so that they can be safe for public use. 

He revealed that GBUC officials have been working with the Ministry of Health and various non-government organizations to conduct operations under these circumstances. 

According to Turnquest, they have developed a COVID-19 protocol.

GBPA Business Development and Marketing Officer Trevor Simmons explained the protocol, disclosing that the GBUC, GBPA along with the Bahamian Government and various NGOs have been working tirelessly to prepare for COVID-19 and would continue to operate through this threat. 

“Our water distribution sites will continue to operate as it regularly has done, so there’s no need to panic; there is no shortage of water,” he said. 

Simmons appealed to residents to take only the amount of water that is needed, because they want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to get water. 

He noted that the water sites have been and are being sanitized daily, multiple times per day.

“Going forward, we want to take those measures to the next level. At each distribution site there will be a water monitor,” he said. 

Simmons suggested that persons utilizing the site could hand their bottles to the monitor to be filled. “This is all in an effort to limit the amount of contact that happens at the water distribution sites.” 

He also appealed to persons waiting for their water practice social distancing. 

The company will be setting up hand washing stations at each site. It is imperative that in the event that a monitor is not available at the site, people should wash their hands before getting their water. 

Simmons encouraged all persons to wash their hands before utilizing the distributions sites. 

He stated that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should refrain from going to the sites and instead, ask someone else to get their water. 

Simmons also took the opportunity to encourage people to patronize private water depots that are now recertified and open for business – Pure Water Limited, Bahama Fresh Water and Ice, Crystal Clear H2O, Full Oasis Water Center and Sunny Isles.

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