Water Rationing Back In Full Effect This Weekend

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Water Rationing Back In Full Effect This Weekend LK Hewlett Starting this weekend, the Water Services Department will resume the rationing schedule it implemented last month in the face of a near depleted water supply. Denison Paul , General Manager of the Water Services Department told The Observer that recent rain showers have had marginal effect on the island’s ground and surface water supply. “In recent times we had a weather system and the passage of Erika and it brought a little bit of rain but it’s obvious that’s not being sustained. After the rainfall, yes we had some slight improvement, but we are now going back to where we were before we had those showers,” he said. The water shortage problem facing St. Kitts requires a long term solution, he reiterated, and warned that consumers must continue to conserve water as the nation heads into the dry season. “We need rain continuously. Intermittent spells like we had the other day would not help long term; they have to be sustainable.” Rainfall over the past few months continue to fall below the average levels of previous years, and based on scientific estimates, the situation is expected to worsen when the dry season sets in around December. Paul said he received information from Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF), which forecasts weather, and it predicts continued reduced rainfall up to February 2016 . With the brief showers resulting in only slight improvement to the levels in the aquifers, rationing will continue from 10pm to 5am. “I don’t want us to become complacent, to figure that we had some rainfall and so things are back to normal. In fact, we are far from normal. “Even this September rainy season we’ve had less rain than we normally have in September, and going forward they expect all those months up to February next year to be the same thing.” Paul explained that when the island received higher average rainfall levels the water was stored underground in the aquifer for the upcoming dry season. With the drought, now there is no longer any storage, he says, so the Department expects that the upcoming dry season-which starts around December- is going to be even more challenging for them. A “And so we have to do all we can now to ensure we conserve the water so we can have the store for when it gets worse,” he said. Water consumption over the past month has been less than what it was previously, but that is mainly due to distribution control rather than a change in the way consumers use the resource, Paul informed. The Department has received an increased number of reports about breaks and leaks, he said, so the message of vigilance has been heeded. “I know that the message is getting through, not as much as we would like, but people are more vigilant now and we want the public to continue that vigilance. Paul addressed complaints that the Water Department was discriminating against certain segments of the population because when rationing begins, some lose their supply immediately while others have water for several additional hours. That situation was not by the Department’s design, Paul stressed, but based on the configuration of the system. He explained that because the reservoir is located uphill and water is brought down to consumers by gravity, those living closer to the water source will lose their supply first. Those in the lower lying communities would enjoy supply for a while after as the water would pool at lower elevations. “So the persons living closest to the reservoir would get water last and lose it first, and those living lower down, closer to the sea, would get water first and lose it last.” Paul empathized with consumers who experience loss of water supply, even for a short time, noting the level of inconvenience it brings. “I just want the public to know that we appreciate their patience.”