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NWC adjusts pump operations to cope with drought

Thursday, April 25, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The National Water Commission (NWC) has adjusted its operating hours as an interim measure to cope with what it says are worsening drought conditions that have impacted its systems across the island, leaving residents with low inflow daily or no water at all.

The move involves shutting down some pumps for several hours in order to build sufficient storage levels before supplying some communities with water, said NWC in a statement today.

The agency explained that in addition to the sharp fall off at its largest storage facilities (Mona and Constant Spring) there are several systems that have been experiencing significant reductions in the volume of water inflows.

Based on reports up to April 23 there has been drastic decline in water supply available for distribution from water systems in rural St Andrew, St Catherine and the mid to western sections of Jamaica, the company said, noting that similar trends have been reported for sections of Clarendon, St Mary, St Ann and Portland, where several systems are operating between 20 and 40 per cent of their normal capacity.

NWC said tremendous work has been put in place to ensure the sustained operations at several of these plants, some of which could be classified as seasonal systems, but in many cases are the most viable sources of water for many rural communities.

It said over the past months, it has ramped up the expansion, rehabilitation and general maintenance of a number of plants to ensure that maximum inflows can be harnessed- thus ensuring continued operations.

With many systems experiencing low inflows for over two months, and the likelihood for extended drought conditions, it is hoped that these measures will help to alleviate some of the challenges faced by customers across the island, NWC said.

It sought to reassure customers that water is being supplied on a scheduled basis and urged them are to take steps to store water for use during the period of disruptions.

The company said trucked water schedules are also being implemented where feasible to augment the water supplied through the pipes.

The NWC is also stressing that it is very important for customers to implement conservation methods to safeguard the limited supply and urges customers to practice the 3 R's Reduce, Re-use and Replace.

• Reduce- monitor daily uses including shower times, and general water use

• Re- use- identify areas that water from laundry and other household activities can be recycled –eg watering plants

• Replace- This involves active leak detection and replacement of faulty pipes and fittings

Meanwhile, the water commission said it has also been targeting improved timelines for leak repairs and is inviting customers to continue to report leaks as soon as they are noticed.

Recently the company launched a new leak report page on its website, which allows customers to upload leak reports, the system will then automatically generate a reference number which they can use to track their report.


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