The president of the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (AAA), Doriel Pagán Crespo, announced this Wednesday a collaborative agreement with the Office for Socioeconomic and Community Development (ODSEC), to start the project to build a drinking water system for the Ultimo Chance and Brisas Oriental sectors, in the community of Cantera.
In addition, the reconstruction of the Buena Vista Tank in Humacao was reported, a project that includes the demolition of the existing tank and the construction of a new one with a nominal capacity of 350 thousand gallons, with an investment of over $ 1.1 million.
“This project is very important for us because it is a project that we really live when we make announcements like these and when we see that the work is being carried out and at the end of the day we are impacting the quality of life of our clients,” he said Pagán Crespo.
However, the announcement related to the drinking water system in Cantera had been made on Sunday, June 29, 2019 by former Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares.
The president made a promise that the low water pressure and the intermittent service in periods of consumption would end. At that time, it was said that a hydropneumatic system would be built in Cantera, which would benefit about 600 families in the two communities.
Today, 16 months later, a promise was made to complete the project by January 8, 2021 or by the end of December 2020.
Pagán Crespo acknowledged that “there was a situation.” In that sense, he explained that “if the Authority carried out its auction process in all that it implies, but the company that was finally awarded did not comply with all the regulatory processes and then that award had to be canceled and it is then until now that again the entire administrative auction process was run and we are here today ”.
At a press conference, it was mentioned that the project will benefit some 150 families from Cantera. The improvements amount to a cost of $ 350,632.11, of which $ 200,000 are part of the AAA and the remaining $ 150,632 were contributed by ODSEC.
In fact, the executive director of ODSEC, Jesús Vélez, stated that with the execution of this project the action has been put where “we pledge our word. We have proposed to fight the social gaps that affect our people, create a fairer Puerto Rico and with opportunities for all its residents ”.
Likewise, Francine Sánchez Mercado, from the Cantera Peninsula Corporation Office, said that she is hopeful that this project will be completed “and that finally over 150 families will receive an essential service such as water.” “Since Hurricane Maria they have no water and depend on non-potable water administered by Municipal Emergency Management,” he added.
In contrast, community leader Gertrudis Calderón said that “without being pessimistic, I would like that beyond the press conference, which is the first one we hold to announce the project, (the project is concluded). We already see that the contractor is also starting work. The money is there, but we want to see this work finished ”.
But beyond the need for a functional drinking water system, the residents of Cantera have other needs. Approximately 9,000 people live in Cantera.
To questions from THE SPOKESMANCalderón said that one of the fundamental problems is the electric power service. He added that a corporation invested millions of dollars in a pole system so that the community could be connected, but as of today the project has not materialized. “We want it to also materialize and not remain in collaborative agreements,” he said.
To these needs is added a problem of collecting rubble and garbage, although he mentioned that he is working with the municipality. “Our priority is AAA and the Electric Power Authority (PREPA),” Calderón said.
In that sense, Sánchez Mercado added that the Compañía para el Desarrollo Integral para la Península de Cantera, which is a government agency created by Law 20 of 1992, made an investment of $ 1.6 million in the construction of the electrical system to work with the voltage fluctuation that the community has.
“What does the voltage fluctuation cause? That the few belongings and the few resources that the people of our community have are damaged, that any wind, any eventuality the community is deprived of this service. This is not a matter that is from Hurricane María or after Hurricane María, this comes from years. It is a project that was built approximately seven years ago and has not yet been connected ”, she explained.
Project in Humacao
As for the project in Humacao for the construction of the Buena Vista Tank, it should be noted that the works will consist of temporary improvements approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). An additional pump, an emergency power generation system, and a telemetry system will be installed that will allow continuous monitoring of its operation.
The mayor of Humacao, Luis Raúl Sánchez, expressed that this project not only comes to solve the precarious and necessary situation of the Buena Vista community, but is a step forward in a recovery that has been slow.
“In a recovery that three years after the hurricane (María) there are many other situations like this in Humacao, throughout the eastern region and throughout Puerto Rico. So definitely, the fact that today we are taking a step forward in the recovery with this allocation of funds and with this project that is very necessary, it is a reason for us to be very happy, “he said.