News

Isaac eases water woes

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Senior staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2012    

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WITH "measured improvements" being seen in at least two of its major storage facilities, the National Water Commission (NWC) says customers who have been facing "major restrictions" could soon get better flow.

The NWC earlier this month announced that more than 100 of its water supply systems had been severely crippled by the drought which had been impacting the island over the last few months, resulting in major restrictions for those customers.

Corporate public relations manager at the NWC Charles Buchanan told the Jamaica Observer Monday that rain associated with Tropical Storm Isaac, which skirted the island over the weekend, had brought good news for those persons.

"It (restriction) is very unlikely to remain in place but I would rather not pre-empt until the Commission has completed an assessment of all the systems and then more than likely make an announcement," he told the Observer. That assessment was expected to be completed Monday, he added.

Preliminary NWC reports have shown "measured improvement in the storage levels at our two major reservoirs", Buchanan said.

"The figures had shown that we had grown the levels at Hermitage close to 80 per cent of capacity when last Wednesday it had been just under 50 per cent. Mona would similarly have grown from last week where it was hovering just above 50 per cent to now just about climbing to 79 per cent," he said.

Buchanan said that the NWC was expected to have a more comprehensive update of all its facilities by yesterday but noted that "most, if not all facilities have seen measured improvement".

"All of the facilities from which I have received reports so far have seen some level of improvement. We are, however, doing complete comprehensive checks on all of the systems to determine what improvements there have been in relation to the inflows," Buchanan said.

In the meantime, Buchanan said that during the showers, which impacted the island mostly over last weekend, there had been "some issues in relation to the raw water quality coming in a number of facilities which have resulted in muddy inflows affecting the ability of some of the facilities to continue operations, particularly in St Catherine, Kingston and St Andrew, and St Thomas.

"We have seen a few instances of blocked intakes and debris creating some issues at the various sources, but that comprehensive assessment is being completed and I wouldn't have access to a comprehensive assessment yet," Buchanan said.

He, however, maintained that the issues experienced, relating to increased turbidity, were "not entirely unusual".

The National Meteorological Office earlier this month indicated that its monthly rainfall report showed that for the last several months most parishes continued to receive below normal rainfall, following on the normally low rainfall period of February to May.

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