The lush Caribbean island of Dominica will allow an export company to ship billions of gallons of its river water around the globe. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s Cabinet signed a deal Thursday with a Colorado company to collect drinking water from the volcanic island’s interior and ship it to countries as far away as the Middle East, said Lucien Blackmoore, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Ports. The 10–year license allows Sisserou Water Inc. to collect 3 billion gallons of fresh water annually from the Clyde River, Blackmoore said. He said studies found extracting the water will not harm islanders or damage the delicate ecology of the Caribbean’s “Nature Island.”
One of the company’s four directors is former Cabinet minister Atherton Martin, who in 1998 won a Goldman Environmental Prize for protecting Dominica from being despoiled by a major copper mine. Sisserou, which has Dominican and American shareholders, is registered in Dominica but has its headquarters in Telluride, Colorado. In a telephone interview from Telluride, Sisserou president Tim Jilek said the company will invest $32 million to build a pipeline, terminal and storage tanks in Dominica’s rugged north. “This is an island that gets 300 inches of rain each year, and the water comes out totally clean,” Jilek said, adding that the business will generate revenue and jobs for Dominica.