Water & Sewerage History
The Bahamas have always had a challenge in providing enough freshwater for its citizens. To collect enough water to meet their needs, Bahamians have historically dug shallow wells and collected water from rooftop drainage, as well as from sinkholes and pits. And they have imported quite a bit of their water from other countries and islands.
The water supply of The Bahamas is managed by the central government on New Providence. Even though the island of New Providence is not very large, it is home to the capital and the government of The Bahamas in the city of Nassau. New Providence also supports about 70 percent of the population of The Bahamas, so most of the water needs for The Bahamas have historically been met principally for the island of New Providence, where government agencies have traditionally overseen the management and distribution of water. There, the central government has set up an extensive, well-planned infrastructure to handle sewage disposal, sewage sanitation, and distribution of water. It has also set up a system of reusing chemically cleaned and purified sewage water as part of the overall plan to meet the water consumption needs of all the country.
After decades of escalating needs for increased water supplies, on July 14, 1976, the Water & Sewerage Corporation (W&SC) was created by the Government to manage the water supply of The Bahamas. It was a time of severe water rationing and growing demand for a stable, reliable water supply. The new corporation was tasked with managing and growing the water supply to meet the present and future needs of, initially, New Providence (having the heaviest concentration of both population and businesses) and North Andros. In 1989, the W&SC officially also undertook the responsibility for the control, protection, and use of the water supply throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Additionally to help meet the increasing demand , barging was introduced as an innovative means of providing water in New Providence from well fields in Andros.
Over the years, WSC greatly improved water quality and distribution systems throughout the islands, implementing a number of successful water industry development programs valued at $110 million. During this time, the output of quality water has gone from about 1 million gallons per day in 1976 to about 16 million gallons per day in 2012 throughout the Commonwealth.