I am writing this letter to the editor in order to correct the record regarding certain erroneous statements and suggestions contained in a recent news article in the October 12, 2007 edition of The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer entitled “Drilling for water on Nevis starts soon amid controversy.”
My name is Dr. Roland B. Hoag, Jr. and I am known by friends and colleagues by my nickname Skip; my name, however, is not Dr. Skiphoag, as I was referred to in the article. I am the senior scientist responsible for the development of 1 million gallons per day of groundwater for the Nevis Island Administration. I have a Ph.D. in geology from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. I have been supervising groundwater exploration programs for the last 30 years in the US, Caribbean and Africa. Since 1998 I have presented numerous scientific papers at the CWWA (Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association) annual meetings throughout the Caribbean.
I was a partner with Mr. Robert Bisson (who was quoted extensively in the prior article) for many years in a company called BCI Geonetics (now defunct). I was the senior technical manager for all exploration projects conducted by BCI Geonetics and was the primary developer of the technological approach which has resulted in a success rate of satisfying customers 90% of the time.
In 1991, I formed a new company, HydroSource Associates. At that time Mr. Bisson was an independent sales representative. HydroSource formed an agreement with him whereby he would obtain groundwater development contracts and obtain financing for same, while HydroSource Associates would provide the technical expertise and groundwater technology development.
I was the president and the senior technical manager at HydroSource Associates when HydroSource provided the technical expertise and developed over 20 million gallons per day of groundwater in Trinidad and Tobago while under contract for Mr. Bisson’s company Earthwater Technology International (ETI). I was also the senior technical manager of projects in Antigua and Montserrat, which were solely HydroSource Associates projects. ETI and Mr. Bisson were not involved in these projects.
In September 2005, I resigned from HydroSource Associates in order to work with BEAD on its various projects because of the company’s superior management team and their responsible approach to the business of groundwater exploration.
The expertise and track record that BEAD provides to prospective clients are reflective of my accomplishments as the most senior scientist on all the aforementioned projects. The groundwater exploration project being conducted on Nevis is supervised and designed by me, under BEAD’s contract with the Nevis Island Administration. This program is designed to protect the environment as well as to optimize groundwater development in areas of Nevis that needs the water the most.
Another item that needs clarification is Dr. Morgan’s 2004 review of an initial proposal for developing groundwater for Nevis (which, again, was referred to extensively in the prior article). That was an old proposal, which was presented prior to my involvement with BEAD. I had no input to that proposal. In fact the current contract with the Nevis Island Administration for 1 million gallons per day is a completely fresh approach and includes many safeguards for the protection of the environment.
With regard to Dr. Morgan’s comments about Tobago and over pumping of wells, the Tobago water authority has not notified me nor HydroSource Associates of problems with the wells installed. In fact, additional wells have been installed and WASA is planning to add more wells.
It is absolutely clear that Nevis must have additional water in order to continue development on the Island. That additional water can either come from desalination, at a very high cost, or from the development of groundwater. In order for the groundwater development to be available for the long term, it must be sustainable. Since this contract is for 1 million gallons per day, which is about 1% of the total rainfall over a yearly basis, sustainability should not be an issue.
The sustainability of the aquifers will be determined by mapping the aquifers, calculating recharge and monitoring withdrawal. Since BEAD must provide water for at least a ten year period, the NIA can be assured that the resource will be carefully managed to protect both the environment and the investment.
In summary, as senior scientist and manager of BEAD’s groundwater exploration project for the NIA, my team and I have received solid support from many government ministers, authority staff and the general public. We are hopeful that this project will be successful in developing this precious resource for the residents of Nevis and in putting to rest the negativity of those who wish to see this project fail.
In the future, I would suggest that the authors, and their editors, of these types of newspaper articles research and verify their facts, as well as obtain input from all parties involved, prior to publication.
Thank you for printing this letter.
Roland B. Hoag, Jr. PhD