Consultants invited to help deliver water plan
Consultants have been asked to help come up with a regulatory framework and plan to develop laws for water and wastewater operations.
The Government told potential bidders that the work of organisations such as the Regulatory Authority and Environmental Authority should be taken into consideration in the preparation of submissions.
A request for proposals said: “The Government of Bermuda, through the Bermuda Housing Corporation, is soliciting proposals from qualified proponents to provide consulting services for the establishment of a regulatory framework, governance structure and appropriate standards and legislation for water and wastewater services across the islands of Bermuda.
“The scope under this assignment will cover the areas of water services including potable water, grey water, well water and reclaimed water as well as areas of wastewater services including sewage, septage, industrial liquid waste and liquid sludge.
“The approach to this assignment must recognise and respect the unique aspects of the current state of the provision of water and wastewater services on the island, the broad stakeholder demographic and their respective mandates and the existing government agencies and regulatory environment.”
The notice, published on the government website, added that “clear drafting instructions and supporting documentation” should be provided “to develop legislation, standards and independent governance structure” for the services.
The RFP came after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, spoke in the House of Assembly last week about an island-wide water and wastewater master plan, to be based on a $5 million “Phase 1” project in the East End.
The RFP said that reference to approaches taken in other jurisdictions would be valuable in the work to create a governance structure and regulations.
It added that North America, Europe and the Caribbean islands were expected to offer relevant examples for “industry benchmarking”.
The Government set out a “preliminary list of key principles” to take into account, which included the importance of Bermuda's natural environment and people as well as earning public trust through “continuous and transparent stakeholder communication”.
Another consideration was to have “the understanding that Bermuda will require increasingly durable water and wastewater service delivery and infrastructure in view of climate change.” The RFP added: “The regulatory framework and governance structure should embrace a continuous improvement approach to the management of water resources by encouraging technological innovation, continuous learn- ing, training and staff development.”
It said: “Bermuda Government currently has a Regulatory Authority and an Environmental Authority in place.
“However, these bodies do not currently regulate the organisations that produce potable water.
“The Environmental Authority currently regulates wastewater treatment systems.”
The notice said: “The existing Regulatory Authority and Environmental Authority as well as several other governance structures and models should be considered and evaluated.”
It added that the governance and authority structures were expected to be introduced in phases and would need “some time to be in effect”.
The successful consultants are also expected to draft a submission for the Cabinet.
Background information in the RFP said: “There currently exists several stakeholder groups with varying degrees of understanding of water as a finite resource and with varying approaches and level of service in delivering water and wastewater services.
“There is a need for the development of a common understanding of the challenges, solutions and costs for sustainable water and wastewater service delivery.
“Preservation and enhancement of the economic growth and vitality of the island through protection of the marine and land ecosystem, Bermuda's most important asset, is critical moving forward.”
It added that priority must be placed on looking after public health through reliable, safe water and wastewater services.
The notice said: “There is a need to address potable water shortages during extended dry periods.”
It added: “Protection of the natural environment and ecosystems through the elimination of untreated wastewater discharges to the environment, both marine and land-based, should be addressed.
“The reputational risks implicit to the water quality impacts of untreated wastewater on local beaches should be considered.”
The RFP, which has a deadline for submissions of August 28, said that the BHC had provided funding for the proposal but that the organisation would not be “party to the establishment” of the regulatory structure and associated regulations and standards.