Vincentians urged to pray for rain to combat drought

June 02, 2020
(File photo)

KINGSTOWN, St, Vincent, Jun 2, CMC – The Central Water and Sewerage Authority’s (CWSA) is urging Vincentian consumers to pray for at least two days of rain per week for the next few weeks as the island deals with the drought situation.

CWSA says the water supply is at 60 or 70 per cent capacity and that while most residents in the northern part of the island are unaffected, in terms of their water supply, the drought is affecting 50 per cent of its customers to the point that they are without water for most of the day.

CSWA has since introduced a water restriction policy to ease the situation and has warned the public, that under the law, it has the power to immediately disconnect any customers who use its supply of water for activities such as watering lawns, farms, recreational fields, and filling swimming pools.

CWSA chief executive officer, Garth Saunders, said that for the first four months of the year, all five of the CWSA’s major water systems in St. Vincent have, on average, experienced rainfall amounts totalling 40 per cent below the 10-year average.

“It means that we have devised a plan, and we have done so, where we are trying to ensure that our customers get water, at some point, for at least six hours during a 24-hour period,” Saunders said, referring to the water rationing that has been taking place over the past few weeks.

“And I guess consumers may ask the question, ‘So why is it varying? Why are the times varying when we can get water?’” Saunders said, noting that the answer is that while the CWSA has scheduled time when water will be available, it is not always able to meet those times.

Saunders said that the CWSA would try as much it can to explain when it will be making the changes.

“But it is not always possible and that is because of the unpredictability of the demand. When we supply water to a particular area or restrict water to a particular area, we are doing so with an objective and the objective is to be able to achieve an increment in storage.

“If, however, the demand goes up in a particular area — because we have no control over that — that affects our ability to come back online. So it means that both by varying the quantity and the rate at which water is used, that can affect our turn on and turn off time,” Saunders said.

He, however, gave customers this guarantee:

“The guarantee is that you will get water but we may not always be able to stick to the schedule that we have announced

“Because it is fluid and we need the public to understand that it’s a crisis and it’s a situation where demand — it’s not that we are giving out discrete amounts of water, discrete fixed amount of water.

He said that CWSA wants customers to understand that when they have water at their premise they should try their best to store it “so you can tide over the period that you won’t have any water”.

Regional forecasters have said that the region could expect to see some relief from the hot, dry conditions by the end of June.

“I am not a person who makes those predictions but we hope that in the coming weeks one or two days a week of rainfall will help us to bounce back very quickly because our system is fairly resilient and we just need one or two days of rainfall and I think we will be back up to 60, 70% capacity. It wouldn’t happen right away but it would happen in a day or two,” Saunders said.

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