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Government officially retakes control of Prasa

April 2 2004

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (Prasa) has officially returned to the hands of the local government after almost a decade of private administration which ended with the cancellation Ondeo’s contract.

“When we implement changes, we will take into account the experience we have gained during the past few years as well as the new tendencies in government,” said Prasa Executive President Juan Agosto Alicea during a press conference at the corporation’s headquarters in Rio Piedras on Thursday.

He said Ondeo would be a consultant for Prasa for the rest of the fiscal year ending on June 30.

Agosto Alicea assured Prasa clients that they don’t need to worry about an increase in service charges.

Agosto Alicea said that for right now, his main priorities are to finish the Water for Everyone Program, reduce the loss of water from 50% to 20% in the space of 10 years, and re-establish Prasa’s operational self-sufficiency.

According to Agosto Alicea, Prasa’s Board of Directors has whittled the number of candidates to replace him as executive president down to three.

“This means that I will be interim president until the beginning of May when the new executive president will assume his duties,” Agosto Alicea added.

The new head will help select six executive directors; each will oversee one of Prasa’s five regions, and the sixth will be in charge of Prasa’s infrastructure plan.

“We believe that putting administrative control in the hands of the regions is the fastest and most efficient way of solving the problems with the water service in Puerto Rico. Each region knows its people’s needs and won’t have to wait on the main office in San Juan to be told what to do,” said Agosto Alicea.

Agosto Alicea said Prasa directors will be appointed for a six-year period to ensure that the corporation’s long-term work plan isn’t interrupted by political changes.

He also said the corporation will retain 195 Puerto Rican Ondeo employees. However, he said they will have to pass a two-year probation period if they are to stay on permanently.