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CWSA general manager says water shortage easing


CWSA general manager says water shortage easing
Garth Saunders, general manager of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority in St Vincent. (CWSA)

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Kingstown – General manager of the Central Water & Sewage Authority (CWSA), Garth Saunders said that they have been able to restore a significant supply of water to residents along the southern coast of St Vincent.

Water on the island became a scarce commodity following the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano last Friday, with ashfall contaminating major water supply reservoirs, lakes, rivers and streams.

“We were able to restore some water on both the Galloway and Mallorca systems and that is a limited amount of water, so that will bring us up to 55 to 60 per cent of our islandwide capacity at the moment,” Saunders said during a talk show with Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves on NBC Radio on Tuesday.

Saunders said that the restoration of the two systems meant that residents along the coast from the south western community of Layou to Calliqua on the southern tip of the island will have access to water.

“We are in a much better position than [Monday],” he said. “There are pockets along the way that do not have water because the entire line went empty, so we will have to gradually fill and pressurise the lines.”

Saunders said supplying water to residents along the Windward coast of the island is proving to be challenging, but the CWSA was hoping to rework the system to ease the problems.

“What we are supplying there is a finite amount [at the moment],” he said. “It will run out at some point.

“We are hoping to go into Jennings and assess the quality of water in the intake to see if whether we can pump that back into the system to replenish the supply that is depleted currently.”

Saunders said CWSA, which also manages the island’s garbage collection, will also be able to respond to mounting refuse problems.

“We have engaged all of the private contractors, who operate in the north of the island, who are no longer assigned in that area, which is the danger zone, they are now helping us out in the green zone, and we have been doing daily garbage collections,” he said.

Gonsalves praised Saunders for the progress CWSA had made in restoring water supply and assessed the restoration of the precious liquid on the southern coast meant that a little over 60 per cent of the 80-plus emergency shelters will have running water.

Saunders added that the other shelters and communities that do not have access to running water will be supplied by water tankers.

“We have over 40 water tankers available to us, so we should be able to supply them,” he said.

Gonsalves said he was waiving all taxes and duties on the import of water and barrels coming into the island until June 30 to ease the humanitarian crisis facing residents.

It was important, the Prime Minister said, that residents had access to water, food, shelter and medicines. (AR)