The drinking water produced at WEB Aruba is pumped to 6 water storage tanks on its own premises. These tanks serve as a buffer for the desalination process. Besides these tanks, there are 7 water tanks installed at strategic points on Aruba, with a total capacity of 65,393 m3.
Primary Storage Tanks
The drinking water produced at WEB is pumped into 6 water storage tanks located on its own premises at Balashi. These 6 tanks serve as a primary storage and have a combined storage capacity of 65,000 m3. The drinking water is then pumped into the distribution system via a header called the “Aruba Header”.
Distribution Storage Tanks
Besides the 6 tanks at WEB, there are 7 water tanks installed at strategic points in the distribution system. The tanks are located at San Nicolas, Savaneta, Mondi Fierno, Urataka, Jaburibari, Alto Vista and Oranjestad. The distribution tanks serve as secondary storage and have a combined storage capacity of 70,000 m3.
The distribution tanks also serve as buffers for water pressure. With the exception of the Oranjestad tank, all tanks are located on hill tops with elevations ranging from 60 to 110 meters above sea level. The highest tank is the “Urataka” tank located in the Santa Cruz district. The water from the hill top tanks is distributed through gravitational force, ensuring stable pressure at all points of delivery.
The distribution system consists of pipelines with a total length of 700 km and serve to connect approximately 40,000 houses and business. Pipe diameters range from 1 inch to 16 inches. The 1 and 2 inch pipes are made of copper. Pipes of 4 to 16 inches are made of ductile cast iron. The iron pipes are cement lined internally and bitumen coated externally. The pipes are also wrapped with PolyEthylene tape for extra corrosion protection.
Gradually, WEB is replacing all its distribution pipes with High-Density PolyEthylene (HDPE) pipes. This material is very resistant to corrosion. Most of the HDPE pipes are joined by welding. The welded joints are of same strength as the pipe itself and are therefore not vulnerable for leakage.
Distribution Pump Stations
In some pipelines extra pumps are needed to further transport the water over long distances. There are 5 pump stations at various locations in the distribution system. The pumps are remotely monitored and operated using telemetry technology.
As part of a multi-year project, WEB is replacing all conventional pumps with Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) pumps. These new VFD pumps are energy-savers because they only work “on demand”, much like inverter air conditioner units.
WEB is also responsible for the installation and maintenance of fire hydrants. The fire hydrants are strategically located and the locations are closely coordinated with the Fire Department. There are approximately 900 fire hydrants installed throughout the distribution system.
To guarantee high drinking water quality at all points of delivery, a number of preventive measures are taken. Each pipeline leaving the Balashi plant is equipped with a UV disinfection system. Each newly installed pipeline is disinfected with Chlorine and tested for biological and chemical contamination before being put into use. Pipelines are periodically flushed to prevent stagnant water. All flushed water is offered at no cost to Government Department of Agriculture (Santa Rosa) for distribution to Aruba’s local farmers.
The drinking water quality is monitored and routinely sampled by the Food Control & Hygiene Office of the Government Department of Public Health. Every two weeks a round of samples is taken at various locations in the distribution system. The samples are tested by Aruba’s Public Health Laboratory (Landslaboratorium).
Infrastructure Leakage Index
Thanks to optimized corrosion inhibition measures and effective maintenance programs, loss of water in the distribution system is kept to a minimum. Distribution losses are calculated by using the international benchmark called “Infrastructure Leakage Index” or “ILI”. WEB’s water distribution system scores an ILI of 0.51 which is considered extremely low.