A RELIABLE supply of potable water for almost every household in Seychelles is becoming closer to reality as each year passes. The quality of water supply is a dependable yardstick to measure any nation's economic and social progress and in this, as in most other sectors, Seychelles matches the best in the region.
The Water & Sewerage Division of the Public Utilities Corporation is responsible for providing the population of the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue with a reliable and safe supply of water. With regards to wastewater, piped wastewater systems are presently operational only on Mahe Island though plans are afoot to extend the service to the other two islands as well.
The water production in the Seychelles continues to rise and the histogram below depicts the growth of water production in Seychelles over the years.
Present Treated water consumption is around 11.4 million cubic metres annually and rises by 8 to 10 percent each year. PUC anticipates a higher rate of growth in the future with new companies moving into the Seychelles International Trade Zone, the development of the newly reclaimed areas and large-scale expansion of the Indian Ocean Tuna Factory, although that company operates its own desalination plant as a part requirement of its water supply.
Developments in Water Sector
The present production capability of water using surface water resources is adequate during periods of high rainfall, but during drought periods this resource is inadequate to meet the demand for water.
To overcome this situation the Public Utilities Corporation embarked on a project to install four desalination plants; two on Mahe Island namely at Providence of capacity 5,000kl/day and Anse Boileau 2,500kl/day, one on Praslin Island of 600kl/day capacity and one on La Digue Island of 300kl/day.
All four plants are completed and operational. The dry spells are often experienced during the Southeast Monsoon where water shortages occur.
In Mahe Island two raw water reservoirs are in existence namely Rochon comMissioned in 1969, and the much larger La Gogue comMissioned in 1979. However, with the increase in demand, which is around 155% within the last 15 years has rendered the available raw water storage inadequate. The steep topography of the landform on the island results in limited possibilities for the construction of large raw water storage reservoir, while the granitic nature of the inner islands does not favour the retention and abstraction of groundwater.
The two main raw water storage reservoirs and the main treatment works serve only the capital of Victoria and surrounding areas while the rest of Mahe and the islands of Praslin and La Digue mainly depend on the run-of-the-river sources for the drinking water supply.
|Praslin Desalination Plant||La Gogue Reservoir||An aerial view of Providence Sewerage Works||Beau Vallon Sewerage Works in Operation|
As a nation so heavily dependent on high quality tourism, which in turn relies on a pristine environment, the PUC bears a heavy responsibility for properly treating wastewater before returning it to the environment.
Earlier only the center of Victoria was sewered and the old treatment plant located close to Victoria did not have adequate capacity to treat wastes emanating from Victoria and the surrounding area.
Thus, a much larger wastewater treatment plant was recently comMissioned at Providence 7km to the South of Victoria. This plant has a capacity of 7,000kl/day and has the capacity to treat wastes emanating from a population of equivalent of 45,000 persons. A similar wastewater treatment plant of 3,000kl/day capacity has also been completed for the Northwest Bay. This plant serves the Beau Vallon area, which is one of the most popular tourist resorts in the Seychelles. These two plants together ensure that at least 35 percent of the population will be connected to a waterborne sewerage system. Provision has also been made to expand the works to cope with increased future development in the areas.
With so many parts of Africa still without a clean and reliable water supply in the home, the PUC's Water & Sewerage Division can be proud of its achievements and shows every sign of keeping its commitment to keep domestic and business customers happy in the future.
The comMissioning of the desalination plants therefore is a dependable fall back option in times of drought.
In Mahe Island the work on the South Mahe Project is progressing and scheduled to be completed in 2005.
This project while increasing the capacity of the main treatment works at Hermitage from 7,000kl/day to 14,000kl/day has the added advantage of transmitting the water produced at the main treatment works on Mahe and the desalination plants to the entire population residing on the coastal belt in Mahe. Further, with the use of the existing installations located on all the islands the benefits of the new projects will be disseminated to almost the entire population located on the island.