Value of wastewater secret

| 19/08/2010

(CNS): Despite the fact that government has been trying to sell the Water Authority’s wastewater operations, officials have refused to reveal how much it is worth. A freedom of information request by a member of the public asking for the independent valuation conducted by KPMG of the government’s sewage treatment plant and other assets has been turned down. The request was made in April, several months before the government’s announcement that it now intends to lease the entire Water Authority operations and not just wastewater. According to the offering memorandum published by HSBC for the government’s recent bond sale, the book value of the sewerage treatment plant at the end of the 2009 financial year was US$23.3m.

Recent reports that government will now be looking for a twenty-five year lease for the Water Authority, a deal it is likely to strike with Consolidated Water, have suggested government will accept a $30 million upfront payment for the entire authorities operations and further undisclosed annual sums over the lease period.  According to this year’s budget documents, the Water Authority has a net worth of over CI$51 million.
It is understood that government was unable to find any investors interested in the sewerage management system, which the UDP had said it would divest from when it took office in 2009. However, with no takers government is now looking at ways of generating cash from some form of divestment of the whole Water Authority, which is one of government’s most successful entities that not only generates profits which are reinvested into the operations, it also pays an annual sum to government coffers, delivers water at an affordable rate and employs over 120 people, a large percentage of which are Caymanian.
The plans to divest to Consolidated Water, the private entity which currently supplies water to West Bay, has raised concerns among staff at the authority and the wider community. The opposition has also said it remains to be convinced that the move will be beneficial to either government or the people, given the success of the asset, especially if local jobs are lost and the cost of water to the consumer increases. 
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  1. Anonymous Realist says:

    It would seem that "FOI" has recently been reinterpreted by to stand for "F*** Off Inquirer", on a case by case basis of course dear citizens.

    If you believe in catchy acronyms like FOI and the sincerity of those who create these laughable sops to public appeasement – wake up and smell the coffee.

    Remember good voters, do as we say, not as we do, and mind your own business, because if you haven’t learned yet, WE know what is best for you and that we must protect you from yourselves.

  2. Night Watchman says:

    UDP is selling the goose that lay golden eggs.

    After we get the money – $30 million and spend now what are we going to sell next. We would be better off by keeping the Water Authority and collect $6-$7 million every year as share of profits to the government rather than give it away to some greedy people for good. After we use up the money we get from selling/leasing the water authority and any other public assets which have a value, next things we could sell are pants, jackets, shirts and underwares of our short-sighted politicians to help sepnd the rest of their term comfortably. This is the mentality of a West Bay drug addict.  Shame on UDP !!! You have disappointed all Caymanians.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The sewerage system is in drastic need of repair and the whole operation is already subsidised by water sales from the Water Authority. No-one in their right mind would buy the sewerage operation because it makes no money!

    • Anonymous says:

      Unless the sewerage system is sold with the water company that way the Government loses the water company but also guarantees the life of the sewerage system.

      This is part of the Government downsizing system and maybe it should be applied to some of these "miracle savings" that some of the Government agencies are having. See been losing money for a long time and now we are making millions.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Everybody has fogotten that right now Water Authority regulates its own operation – what a disaster and conflict of interest! The regulatory function should always have been outside of the Authority’s hands. If CW lease the Authority the regulatory function will be separate and run by Government which is how it should be.

    • SoBe it says:

      If the UDP government sell the Water Authority (against the wishes of the people) our water bills will definitely go up drastically. Never mind, Mckeeva Bush does not care about that because like his electrical bill, his Christmas lights bill, his security guards bill, his security system bill, his phone bill, his toilet bill, his gas bill, his food bill, his party bill ("entertainment"), his car bill, his many travels bill, his every bill, we the people will be paying his water bill also. He does not care if his water bill goes up because he does not have to pay for it. He forgets that we have to still pay our bill & does not care if it goes up like our electrical bill. It is time to say goodbye to him before it is too late for our survival! It is referendum time!

      • Night Watchman says:

        Also, Consolidated Water is going to double dip the pie. It will make a profit by selling water to the the Water Authority. And then the Water Authority keep another profit margin when selling water to the public. As same people going to own both entities, they will collect super profits from the whole operation.  We all have to pay for these.  Our water bills are going to go up more than 20% !!!.  This is what we get by electing UDP.  UDP does not have a plan for the country.  They run the country day to day basis.

  5. Caymanians for logic says:

    If you plan to BID out this entity as per CG’s comments, clearly you would not let the Bidders know beforehand what YOU think it is valued!!

    Come on Cayman, use some logic!! FOI can come later on this one, after the bid.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Who will stop them?  HELP!

  7. MacDinejad says:

    "You SHUT UP!"

    "All of unna is just cloggin up da infrastructure, try so go back where unna come from, where life is sooooo perfect"

    "Damn Bloggers are the RUINATION of dis lil 2×4 country"

    • No, you shut up says:

      No, you shut up McChavez, ’bout us "bloggers are the RUINATION of dis lil 2×4 country"!

      No Mac, its you that is the RUINATION of dis lil 2×4 country!

  8. anonymous says:

    Why not sell Boatswaine to Discovery Bay Group or Disney for that quick cash, short term effect?  Keep the Turtle Unit for the Caymanian Conservation Program. Why is it the UDP is holding on to that!!!??



    • Anonymous says:

      Because nobody wants it?

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       10:43…..they cannot sell it. They have dumped a small fortune into that project and they would have to take a huge lose to make it attractive to a purchaser. Probably don’t want anyone looking at the books as well.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The book value of the Water Authority assets has very little influence on the value of the company.   I really hope that a proper valuation of the company has been carried out in accordance with appropriate accounting rules and it should be made public, as the Water Authority is owned by Government and therefore the public.

    It appears to me that it is being leased for far less than it is should be.  Why let it go to CW, tender it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Did this person appeal to the Information Commissioner, Mrs. Dilbert?

  11. Anonymous says:

    The UDP will sell their souls (or what’s left of them) simply for short term gain; all they see is dollar signs up-front where they can get their hands on it to spend spend spend right now! No care for the future of Cayman or the Caymanian people. Sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you not mean ‘sell our souls’? or are you thinking its only their souls that they are willing to sell?

      • Anonymous says:

        Why is it that everyone is trying to get the Government to sell the sections that is making money and keep the ones that are losing. In the end Government will then raise fees and you will complain. The only how the sewerage system is going to make any money is if it is included in the sale of the water company. You want the money maker then you take something that is a problem off our hands.