GUAM – By the time the 8,500 Marines arrive with their 9,000 dependents and entourage, the Guam Water Authority says, water infrastructure must advance to levels now targeted in the Capital Improvement Plan for 2025. Failure to overhaul infrastructure on time would delay the military buildup itself or pollute waterways, overflow sewers and overload the power grid.
Guam must cram more than a decade’s worth of infrastructure work into the next five to six years before the military buildup boosts demand by tens of thousands of daily showers, hundreds of thousands of toilet flushes, and billions of dollars in electricity-sapping equipment, authorities say.
Even with the use of population growth mitigation measures like the Department of Defense’s (DoD) force flow reduction and Adaptive Program Management, the relocation of the Marines from Japan along with their dependents, support staff and construction workers will add an estimated 41,000 to 46,000 people at the peak of growth — a boost of nearly a quarter to the population of 180,000. And the heavy-duty demand particular to the military makes the increase even more stressful to infrastructure than mere numbers indicate.
The DoD on Guam will need water supply of 35 million gallons a day – almost double its current maximum demand, according to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific. This will require adding more than 30 wells on military and civilian land, five new water treatment plants, five extra water storage facilities and as much as 27 miles of additional distribution lines.
The GWA says the island’s 336 billion-gallon aquifer can sustain output of as much as 80 million gallons a day while demand at the peak of construction will reach 53 million gallons a day. The relocation will also dramatically increase military-related wastewater flow at the Northern District Wastewater Treatment Plant, from 2 million gallons a day or less currently to as much as 5 million gallons a day.
Without major upgrades, the GWA says, excess demand would prevent issuance of permits for much of the planned new housing, overflow the sewer line in Marine Drive, which is already operating near capacity, and strain the environment.
While a single megawatt is enough to power 1,000 average US homes, the DoD already uses about 50 megawatts on Guam. That is projected to more than double to 115 megawatts. With the margin of reserve power that the DoD requires, it estimates a power shortfall of as much as 100 megawatts.
The Guam Power Authority says these power demands can be comfortably met but only if financing and construction comes on time. Current peak total demand is 272 megawatts out of a generation capacity of 552 megawatts. The DoD is also considering alternative power supply including wind power, geothermal energy and others that, it says, should account for 25 percent of its power use on the island.
Japanese government funding for upgrades and expansion of utilities on Guam total $740 million, according to the Joint Guam Program Office. Investment in wastewater infrastructure is targeted at $421 million, while water supply upgrades and expansion account for $159 million. Another $160 million will be invested in power supply. The Department of Defense, though, says that infrastructure investment may need to rise to $1.3 billion.
This is the first installment in a series of stories from GuamBuildupNews.com about the expansion of utilities and infrastructure underway to support unprecedented growth in the island’s civilian-military population. Particular focus will be trained on clarifying utility and infrastructural needs, emerging solutions and the opportunities that could result for Guam businesses.
Image used in this article courtesy Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net