Thursday, August 18, 2016

Guam Waterworks Authority and U.S. Navy discuss Guam's water operations

John O'Connor | Post News Staff

The Guam Waterworks Authority is at the final stages of developing an updated memorandum of understanding with Naval Facilities Engineering Command on the operation of Guam's water resources. One of the first pilots to this "One Guam" initiative, the operational transfer of the Tumon Maui Well, has largely been positive, according to GWA General Manager Miguel Bordallo. The well produces about $1 million gallons per day and has consistently met demand, GWA documents stated. A ribbon-cutting took place on July 28 to mark the formal transition of operations to GWA.
The One Guam initiative is an effort to integrate military and civilian water and wastewater systems.
In September, Rear Adm. Babette Bolivar is expected to attend her regular quarterly meeting with Speaker Judi Won Pat and Sen. Tom Ada to discuss progress on the initiative. The two legislators had pending inquiries about the feasibility of operating other Department of Defense assets, such as the Mount Santa Rosa Well. According to Bordallo, there is ongoing work to develop an inter-tie between the DoD Santa Rosa reservoir and the utility's own reservoir, but no discussions have taken place regarding operation of the actual well.

"I think it's a little too soon to do that until we perform well on Tumon Maui," Bordallo said.
Likewise, there have been no discussions so far regarding transferring operation of 13 wells located in Andersen Air Force Base to GWA, which was one of the senators' inquiries. Simon Sanchez, a member of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, stated that there has been reluctance from the military to transfer the operation of water sources.
Reservoirs not wells
"Like Fena (Lake), they're nervous about giving up water sources; they're nervous about giving up wells," Sanchez said. "They portray it as 'Well you need to prove to us GWA that you can run the system.' Even though we run a much larger system than they do."
Sanchez referenced a conversation between DoD and utility officials where it was noted that the military was increasing its reservoir capacity in order to accommodate the 5,000 or so anticipated incoming Marines as part of the military buildup.
"The one idea that emerged that everyone liked ... I said, if you can't give us well capacity – because there's an enormous sweet spot on their side than on our side – can you give us storage capacity," Sanchez said. He added that providing access to DoD reservoirs would be a means of providing access to DoD water as access to the wells themselves was likely "the last thing they're going to give."

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