Liner ponds are being constructed to “harvest” and store rainwater that is falling on the panels at the solar park in St. Eustatius. The water harvested from the solar panels is too much to be stored in the St. Eustatius Utility Company STUCO cistern. This water will be used for various purposes. In photo: Workers next to the northern liner pond with the STUCO Solar Park in the background. Story on page .
St. EUSTATIUS--Liner ponds are currently being constructed to “harvest” and store rainwater that is falling on the panels at the solar park in St. Eustatius.
The water harvested from the solar panels is too much to be stored in the cistern of St. Eustatius Utility Company STUCO. As the amount of water running from the solar panels will cause the cistern to run over, the ponds are currently being dug to handle the overflow, said Head of the Department of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries LVV, Gershon Lopes in explaining the public entity’s project.
There are two ponds being dug currently, one to the northern side of the solar park near F. Roosevelt Airport and a second one inside the park, which will store the water from the solar panels.
This water will be used for agricultural production under the solar panels, to grow spinach, lettuce and a variety of other vegetables.
Programmes, such as Made in Statia and the reforestation project, which is building greenhouses, will also be able to make use of the water from the ponds.
“Instead of us letting it run into the ocean, we will harvest it [rainwater – Ed.] and use it for agriculture. We will have water for construction, for livestock and farmers … and to work toward sustainable agriculture on Statia,” Lopes added.
Interim Director of Economy and Infrastructure, Anthony Reid secured funds from the European Union for this project. Two years ago, he gave a presentation at the Statia Sustainability Conference together with STUCO’s Chief Executive Officer Fred Cuvalay about the Liner Pond Project. Lopes said the project was supposed to commence about a year-and-a-half ago, but the start of the project took some time.
At the conference, Lopes said it is the public entity’s intention to also start harvesting rainwater from the streets via a system of gutters like in the past.
“We will have sufficient water on Statia to bring agriculture to a different level … I think most people do not understand what is really happening with the streets, but the idea is that we do not want water to go to the ocean. Water is becoming more expensive than fuel, so it’s best that we harvest as much water as we can and use it for agriculture,” Lopes explained.
Residents can also harvest water for agricultural purposes from the roofs of their homes using a system with gutters and a cistern. Persons can still continue to use STUCO water for washing clothes, et cetera.