PRASA to deploy $46M in infrastructure upgrades
A trio of government agencies — the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, the Infrastructure Financing Authority (AFI, in Spanish), and the Health Department — announced the signing of an agreement to carry out $46 million in improvements to the water utility’s infrastructure.
During a news conference, officials from all agencies confirmed that the money for this agreement comes from the State Drinking Water Revolving Fund program, allocated by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“The agency’s financial stabilization continues to bear fruit and today we enter into this agreement for the good of all our clients,” PRASA Executive President Doriel Pagán said.
“This financing is another achievement that is added to the refinancing done in December 2020 and Aug. 25, which generated $917 million in savings in debt service,” said Pagán.
The total agreement includes $24 million in funds at no cost to PRASA through principal forgiveness and zero percent interest, plus $22 million in a 30-year loan with an annual interest of 1%.
AFI Executive Director Eduardo Rivera said the agency he heads provided financial and technical assistance for the development of projects through the State Potable Water Revolving Fund, “which results in important improvements in the island’s water system, for the benefit of the people.”
“We continue to be active evaluating projects and opportunities to ensure, together with PRASA and Health, the best water quality in Puerto Rico,” he said.
Specifically, the agreement will “guarantee that we can have an updated drinking water treatment system with the latest technology, which results in a better quality of water for our people to consume,” Health Secretary Carlos Mellado said.
“Without a doubt, the drinking water system in the towns of Ponce, Hatillo and Aguadilla are being strengthened for the benefit of thousands of clients,” he said.
The $46 million allocation will be broken down as follows: $11.2 million will go to the Ponce Nueva treatment plant; $13.5 million for the Ponce Vieja treatment plant; and $ 6.2 million for the Coto Laurel treatment plant. In addition, $4.4 million will be earmarked for improvements to the raw water inlet in Hatillo and $10.9 million for improvements of the same type in Añasco, Pagán said.
The funds are being obtained after PRASA was able to access funds from the State Revolving Fund program in 2019 and are in addition to $163 million obtained in August 2020 for sewerage projects.