Barbados former PM advises Dominica to export water

Former PM of Barbados Owen Arthur. Photo credit: www.foreign.gov.bb

Former leader of Barbados Owen Arthur has joined in the discussion regarding Dominica’s possibility to export water to its Caribbean neighbours, advising the country that is should do so.

Arthur headed a three-member team from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in Dominica until Saturday, as part of efforts to maximize arrangements of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

The team met with members of the private and public sector, and civil society officials at the National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD) Friday.

Arthur who’s serving as a consultant to the Caricom secretariat, urged Dominica to use the CSME arrangement as an opportunity to exploit its water resources.

“You should do it … I think that Dominica should be looking to export water to the rest of the region and because of the CSME, you don’t have to wait for the rest of the region. Under the rules of the CSME you now have the right to establish commercial presence anywhere in the Caribbean, so Dominica can set up water supply companies in any Caribbean country… The export of water is gonna be a major consideration for Dominica; i think you should do it,” he underscored.

Arthur also suggested a water purification plant for Dominica, once it decides to move ahead.

Dominica has lately been speaking about an industry for water exportation to the wider region and the need to make the most of its “abundant” water supply.

– DNO Correspondent

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27 Comments

  1. T. Winston
    April 12, 2010

    We can barely output a constant supply for ourselves with respect to bottled water how will we export enough to turn enough a profit margin to make it interesting without compromising our rivers. With droughts looming and our rivers drying exporting the little we have of such a precious resource is not the most advisable path we should instead FIRST concentrate on how to maintain a steady river flow so that they do not DRY up and look at how to possible increase the water level of the rivers themselves as most have become shallow. Exporting a resource which we cannot control would be quite foolish. how would it look for Dominica to export water for the next 5 years only to need it in the next 10…

  2. da man
    March 30, 2010

    Some future conflicts are going to be based on the control of water supplies around the world. My friend is a journalist, he has a world map and has identified places where the wars will possibly happen. The planting of trees around the source of the water supply helps to maintain the constant flow.

  3. Grand Bayrian
    March 29, 2010

    The Same man who stated that “Dominica does not possess the skills needed to transform itself from a banana economy to an export service economy”. Why do we listen to every crap that comes out of the mouth of Caribbean Politicians?, is it that we are so hungry to hear anything and everything that is spewed out of these crabs?….. LOL we can do better!

    • Prophet2
      March 30, 2010

      I agree, Owen should zip it. Bajans are the most selfish people in the entire Caribbean and their noses are always up in the air.
      Actually they don’t really belong to the Caribbean since they don’t border with the Caribbean sea so let those Atlantic crabs stay in the un-forgiving Atlantic. Long live the OECS.

      • rihanna
        November 29, 2010

        thts actually not true bajans are not selfish people there really nice. you not to argue how owuld you know u dont know bajans like i. im a bajan and no bajan can be really mean. we dont have our noses up in the air. dominca is mean. there realy rude. and we do belong to the caribbean.

    • Anonymous
      March 30, 2010

      Yow I agree 100%! Tell Barbados to keep up to the agreement of allowing all Caricom nationals access to employment

  4. Pedro
    March 29, 2010

    We don’t need foreigners to tell us what we should know already about our potential to export more water.. We know our water is valuable. Its just that we have not been bold and strategic enough to use the knowledge to our advantage. We have not in the past been strategic about any of our natural resources…almost everything is politicized with no evolving plans for years to come. We hardly remember for example that in the 80s Mamo gave a contract to a US company to sell all the geothermal power it could generate to Domlec…That company sat on the agreement..Way back then we had not been thinking of how to deal with the resources we had, and we are hardly doing that appropriately even now.

    The only natural resource we have given much thought of ahead of time was designation of the natural forest reserves and later on…the marine reserves…otherwise we have always squabbled about these things and maybe given it away for timber….

    ‘They are coming to take our stuff’ is the cry now! Lets think big and not try to enact laws and regulations when foreigner investors put foward their terms and conditions, (eg. CDC twisting government’s arm to pass regulations for the electricity act and now we see the geothermal act…we have to jump ahead and determine how our country should look like in 20,30,40 years…what we want for the future generation…Being too reactive and political is the problem. The politicians want to be able to say its their party that did it…

    Lets determine whats good for the country and have long range plans…even if it takes an eventual 10 years for execution. When the world will have denegrated its own natural resources, we will still have some of the best natural renewable and appreciated resources, that could presumably be a cash cow. Let the potential seen through water exports, hot water spas, hiking and camping, geothermal and hydro, organic agricultural production, whale watching and scuba diving, academic flora and fauna research and more, be examples of untapped potential that can take us places, if we would just listen to all ideas and be determined to think boldly and recognize our local talent and body of knowledge.

  5. March 29, 2010

    Already we are chomping at the bit; water export must be for all Dominicans! The water industry is a low employment, labor intensive enterprise that will help our economy but not make us rich. Before we start dreaming of an economic boom, please remember that the cost of bulk shipment of water is high compared to the value of the product; so who profits most from bulk shipment? – the carrier.

    To maximize exploitation of our water resources, a supportive manufacturing plant must be set up to produce bottles (the Conservation Association will not like plastic). Thus bottled water could be shipped at value-added competitive rates. The bottle manufacturing plant would employ a significantly larger number of employees by producing containers if more than one bottling facilities exist on island.

    We should be reminded that packaging the product for overseas market might prove costlier than mining the product itself because if international standards must be met; primarily for reasons of health. So we must analyze these two issues: bulk export, which is low profit generating, and packaged(finished) export that demands production support at home.

    • Pedro
      March 30, 2010

      @winston warrington ..good points but practically speaking: Dominica already has several (plastic bottle) water manufacturing enterprises. We started this decades go. Nothing new there. The question is how cheaply can we produce and export this…lets face it bottled water is everywhere and there are thousands of competitors…unless you can do something value added (vitamins anyone?)…do it very cheaply, or develop a recognized brand (can I have a Perrier)…there may not be far to go with that. We don’t have the economies of scale. Some people still care for natural spring water though (as opposed to distilling tap water which all and sundry, including coca-cola are doing…but marketing needs will be tremendous unless we can be affiliated with a recognizable brand..

      As for the the bottle manufacturing facility, unless you have a massive demand and possibly make bottles for other industries/clients, then a bottle manufacturing facility may not be viable as a means to cheapen local production of bottled water. Besides, unless you have a recognized brand, or you producing for an elite clientelle, most consumers would go for the cheap plastic bottle versions, even though people are more environmentally concious these days. In practice winston, that bottle manufacturing plant probably wont happen for many reasons, mostly economic. There are many consumers in the US who can buy a buy a case of 35 bottles of water at about 10-15 cents per bottle. We could never compete with this.

      In terms of bulk shipment you are right about the costs elements, but we can let the buyer bear the burden of that. We wont make tons of money from bulk shipment; but there are enomous marketing potentials and possibilities to do alot more than we are doing now in terms of providing water to ships. The fact remains that we do not have the infrastructure in place for bulk export on a massive scale; drought or no drought. Dowasco has been sleeping on this potential. Until the recent drought issues, you hardly heard much talk about something really big and tangible in this regard. Yes we do sell water in bulk to ships, but we have not marketed bulk shipments period, nor do we have the physical infrastructure in place to minimize any inconvenience to local consumers etc. Dominica can be known not only as a land of rivers, but a land of natural water quality second to none.

  6. Anonymous
    March 29, 2010

    It should not take Barbados to come and say that in Dominica. All the Leaders of Dominica have failed us, for years I have been saying that God blessed us with the abundance of water, that is what we have to compete with the world and Caribbean, not sand and beaches. why the middle east have been using what they have, oil, to make a living and we cannot use our water, a resource the world needs? Shame on our leaders past and present for not having that vision. Dominica should not be that poor with so much we have been given by God.

  7. only
    March 29, 2010

    Do you people get it? The U.N bought out your water rights.
    Think for a change.
    How rational in terms of making money is shipping water? Water is heavy and fuel isn’t cheap. It would be more economical for countries lacking water to build de-salinization plants.

    You are getting ripped off and you don’t even know it.
    Do you really think that they are going to put any money in your pockets??

  8. Nonesense
    March 29, 2010

    NATO – No Action Talk Only. I await the next symposium on this topic :)

  9. de caribbean change
    March 29, 2010

    They once thought of us as small island. Now de small island cutting all the big trees. They never realized that we are always Lovely Dominica, land of many rivers, you will find the rivers flow, everywhere you go, won’t you come and stay a while, in beautiful D o m i n i c a.

  10. dis really sumting
    March 29, 2010

    well our government seems to enjoy signing off our natural resources to foreign investors so Dominica can make 2cents on every how many hundred tonnes. Yeah, we’ll ex[ort water alright, once the govt can find someone to give the license to, to control our white gold.

    All the land dug up from mining, we still poor and with all that tarish we struggling to build proper roads, geothermal energy signed off, we’ll see what happens, now with water…lol, i really would like to know who’s gonna get lucky, we’ll only be getting 5 cents for every hundred gallons and remain poor….

  11. Wait A Minute
    March 29, 2010

    Here is an opportunity for great talkers such as Athie to put their money and ‘abundance of ideas’ where their mouths are. With a signed water contract already in his pocket and his boast of contacts I expect to see real ACTION within the coming weeks and months. The government needs to urge DOWASCO to speed up with plans for water export. We just can’t seat by and allow this opportunity to pass us by. We are often too good at talking with little action. With the climate change situation sytaring us in the face this drought situation is expected to only further worsen.We are probably right at the juncture where we can make our water bring us the wealth we aspire just as crude oil did for countries such as Trinidad and Saudi Arabia. WAKE UP DOMINICA!!!!!!

  12. WARMA
    March 29, 2010

    That’s a no-brainer. We’ve been sitting on this resource since the beginning of time, now our hour is at hand. We should definitely go full speed ahead with this and establish effective distribution systems in the wider region. Our water reserves do not require drilling, mining, or any of those expensive methods of extrusion – we simply need catchment areas and purification systems to cleanse the water as it is being piped out to waiting tankers. It is not an industry that would generate enormous direct employment, but the returns could, and should, be used to finance other projects in the country that will create further employment, specifically projects that highlight our eco-tourism industry.

    People, this is our “oil” and we’re in a unique position to earn substantial foreign exchange with it. The world is thirsty – am not the one saying this, there’s extensive articles in this month’s National Geographic Magazine on this – http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com – cut and paste this link in your browser and read about it.

    Let’s get going folks. Make it happen.

  13. zengleden
    March 29, 2010

    Dominica got water like gas in trinidad> i hope dat the water business will benifit all the folks from Dominica. I hope the water business will not pass like the mining industry in Dominica – eapscially when there was so sos much sand and so forth in layou and some people got it for freee. Make plenty money with the water and please please no a drop of water without receipts and real money – no fake dollars. No bobollllll- dat water vibe can ba a life saver for Dominica. Only local companies should be dealing with the water market; no foreigneers please- there is a time for foreigners – but not in the water buisinesssss. Dominica not for sale!

  14. Dem Better Dayz
    March 29, 2010

    Well Well finally with the 365 river i think it’s time to profit from such under goings, Dominica should export some water!

  15. Anthony Ismael
    March 29, 2010

    I understand his role, but did we really need Owen Arthur to tell us that it’s okay to move ahead and sell water to our neighbors who do not have this natural resource in abundance? Maybe it’s just me, but I would think that such a decision would be natural, considering Dominica’s position with water.

    • MOT
      March 29, 2010

      I checking that too we.

      • Piper
        March 30, 2010

        Sometime when you have something for so long you stop seeing the value in it. Often it takes a fresh set of eyes to point it out to you.

  16. fanso - nigerian
    March 29, 2010

    I agree water is the new oil, and more necessary than oil. But dominica have to do it so that all of eominica bendfits, and the water supply is not exploited, and dominicans suffer. The goverbnment should invest heavily to produce a better water supply firstly to all Dominicans homes, and secondly to export. The water should be nationalised, belonging to the people not some private company but the people of Dominica.

    • d/can in j/a
      March 29, 2010

      co-sign

      • van
        March 30, 2010

        In total agreement. Dominica should also think very carefully about selling ‘its’ water. Water is the new commodity and will always be needed. Dominica wait for the highest bidder is need be. Besides what good is money to the people when water is scarce?

  17. pha
    March 29, 2010

    god plan for d/ca mr arthur

  18. .........I..........
    March 29, 2010

    mmmmm? Everyone of those other countries now see eyes on poor lil Dominica because they don’t have water.

  19. Finally
    March 29, 2010

    In total agreement…Yes, some rivers have dried up in the past. However Dominica is still blessed to have many flowing rivers and waterfalls..I think exporting water to the other Caribbean countries will be a great financial move for Dominica…

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