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Suriname water supplies for the Caribbean

The trinidad Guardian / A Suriname-based Dutch company plans to transport millions of gallons of river water from the South American country to drought-hit islands of the Caribbean, using a giant inflatable water bag. 

Amazone Resources CEO Auke Piek told T&T Guardian his company proposes a test run to Barbados toward the end of November. The venture is being supported by the government of Suriname through a special concession. 

Minister of Water Resources Regilio Dodson said the new service will in no way affect supplies to citizens since potable water is largely extracted from aquifers and not from the country’s rivers. 

The state has a 28 per cent shareholding in the company and the country will benefit both from profits and royalties based on extraction. 

Dodson said the shipments will make use of huge freshwater outflows from the country’s rivers. Annually, more than 150 billion cubic metres of river water flows into the ocean from Suriname. 

“We are the greenest country on earth,” the minister said, adding that the government was aiming to get “the institutional and infrastructural framework in place so that fresh water is a commodity that can be developed in Suriname.” 

The device, called a Flex Tank, has a maximum capacity of 30 million litres which takes up to three days to fill. 

Piek said his company had looked at the potential environmental impacts of transporting such a high volume of water between countries and through open seas and would abide by all the maritime and other guidelines. 

In the first instance, tug boats will be used to tow the massive water bags but Piek said his company proposes to eventually turn to solar-powered unmanned vessels. 

The Amazone CEO said the water to be transported will be treated but it was not the intention to produce potable water. Islands receiving the supplies will be expected to have their own storage and treatment facilities based on planned use.

Recent tests were conducted on the waters of the Coppename and Suriname rivers to determine suitability for export. A company release cited the testing of samples from the two rivers by the University of Suriname and Eurofins Analytico of Holland.

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