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Former Fernie resident hooks up Caribbean Island with fresh water

Harder has met with top government officials in the process
Brad Harder, who grew up in Fernie, is helping to bring fresh drinking water to the people of Antigua. From left: Gaston Browne (prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda), Renee Beaucage (vice president with Waterworks Technologies) and Brad Harder (business development with Waterworks Technologies).

Growing up on the corner of Mt. Ingram and Elkview Place, the last thing Brad Harder thought he would do was to bring fresh drinking water to a place almost 6,000 kilometres away.

However, that is just what Brad Harder, a Fernie Secondary School graduate of 2001, did.

Harder has been living in Calgary for the last several years working in business development with the water and wastewater treatment company, Waterworks Technologies.

Yet in the spring of 2022, Harder alongside his business partner and the company’s vice president, Renee Beaucage, encroached on a project to bring three water desalination plants to a Caribbean island, that of the broader nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

Harder said the new plants will service about 30 per cent of the more than 95,000 population.

“It needs a lot more, so we’re pushing and hoping to get more facilities built for everybody,” he said.

Harder explained that there is a major water shortage in the country.

“They don’t have any groundwater and it’s always basically a major drought in Antigua.”

From 2015 to 2017, Waterworks Technologies brought two desalination plants to the island. The water infrastructure the island has, however, is not enough to sustain the country, according to Harder.

“The whole country would need about seven million gallons per day to take care of everybody. And, they’re nowhere near that.”

He explained, that the plants involved, are running about 150 metres of pipe into the ocean, sucking up the water and running it through facilities to make it potable.

The first of the three new plants were commissioned in May. The second and third are currently being built with the expectation of being commissioned later this year.

In early May, Harder and Beaucage met with Prime Minister Gaston Alphonso Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, along with cabinet ministers and the chairmen of the Antigua Public Utilities Authority.

Harder said it was quite the experience to meet with the leaders of the nation.

“They are strictly business, that’s for sure, and they definitely want what’s best for their country,” he said.

“Gaston is really pushing these plants to be built in short order and has plans to build more to take care of his country.”

Harder believes the island is keeping alive the legacy of the company’s late founder, Raymond Leonard Sukovieff, by bringing water to the people of Antigua.

“It’s good.”

READ MORE: ‘Gift from God’: Fernie-born arm-wrestling pro makes comeback after life-altering injury


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