The water supply in Nevis is expected to be bolstered as the Water Department continues its reservoir expansion project. The six new reservoirs will be placed island-wide: 500,000gal reservoirs at Spring Hill, and Stoney Hill; three 300,000gal at Camps, Maddens Estate, Fothergills; and one 150, 000g at Morgans Estate. The project began July 2013 and although only one structure has been erected, the foundation has been laid for others. Junior Minister of Utilities, Hon. Troy Liburd informed that presently, the island has approximately 15 reservoirs which collectively hold 3-4 million gallons (imperial) of water per day, with 1.4 million being used. Due to the reservoirs being in constant use and the age of some of them, it poses a maintenance problem for the Water Department, the minister said. “Because we don’t have excess storage capacity, all of these tanks are utilized daily in getting water around to the general public. Because we don’t have that redundancy, we have to keep all our tanks in service, 24hrs a day, 365 days of the year so you don’t really have that opportunity to do much in the way of maintenance,’the minister told the Observer. “While the nominal capacity of the tanks might be 200-300,000gal, some of these tanks have been in service for a while; some are 50 years old, and they have not been properly maintained. Some are leaking so we can’t fill them to capacity… so that does present a challenge.”The Minister compared the fragility of the island’s water system to an old piece of elastic. “Our system is like an elastic band and it would have been stretched past its elastic limit and now is in the plastic stage, so any pulling can cause a breakage,”he explained. “The system is such that it is intertwined and interconnected and a breakage on one side could spell disaster for the other side of the system, so it’s a very delicate system.”The Caribbean Development Bank funded project of establishing the new reservoirs will supply an additional two million gallons of water. It will also assist the department with its storage and distribution to customers, relieving the strain of some of the existing catchment and pipelines and allowing for some to be taken off stream for repairs. “With the coming of these new tanks, we will be able to take some of these tanks out of service temporarily and do an assessment of the tanks. Where it is that we can repair and refurbish, and replace the tanks that are in the worst conditions, we will do that. The age of the tank, amount of deterioration will be considered. In any system like this, some level of redundancy is very, very important.”Another problem highlighted was leakage. “One would assume that there are some leakages and last year I highlighted in the budget presentation that there is a 25-30% loss,’the minister said. He also said that “legitimate reasons”could account for the loss, as some sectors use a large amount of water that cannot be accounted for. Meter reading was another challenge facing the department, Liburd explained. “We have bulk meters so we know how much water we are producing but when the water comes down and goes to the end user, you find that the records on the billing side are different from the records on the production side… because the meters were not read.”Some of the meters that have gone unread include those for government offices. “We have a lot of government offices now and the amount of water that we use in these facilities has been growing. There is also agriculture which uses a large amount of water and not all of that water is metered,”he said. The department has started to read more meters so that it would be able to get a truer picture of exactly what its actual percentage of loss is. Minister Liburd said due to the magnitude of the reservoir project, it was difficult to pinpoint a completion date. “This project is definitely going to take a while. It is a civil works project and with large civil works projects, there are always factors that cause delays. Some of these factors are things that are not controlled by the NIA but strictly by the CDB. Pipe procurement will be handled by Jamaica Drip