Dry spell leaves some areas without water

THE dry spell currently affecting the island has left National Water Commission (NWC) customers in several parishes without water or with low pressure because of falling intake levels.

The NWC, in a written response to queries from the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday, disclosed that a major system in the Montego Bay, St James area is being impacted by dry conditions as well as sections of the parishes of Clarendon and St Thomas.

“There are now lower inflows at the Great River (St James) intake. It is down by about 30-35 per cent. This affects supply to the Rosemount Gardens community and surrounding areas,” the NWC said.

The utility company said, “the Low Ground wells in Clarendon are also being affected by low yields. Of importance, as well, is the fact that facilities in St Thomas are operating below production output, as a result of declining surface water inflows caused by the present dry spell,” it said.

The NWC said the situation “has severely impacted the company’s ability to distribute piped water to a number of customers who are either experiencing intermittent supply, reduced pressures or without water”.

It, however, said it “has implemented measures to mitigate the impact to customers and these include valve regulations, supply from alternate sources where possible, rebuilding of storage levels, and providing trucked water”.

In the meantime, the entity said the Corporate Area has so far been spared the onslaught of the dry spell.

“The current storage levels for the reservoirs that serve the Corporate Area are at healthy capacities. As at June 15, the Mona Reservoir was at 91.2 per cent of its capacity. On June 14, it was at 91.6 per cent. The Hermitage Dam is now at 100 per cent of its capacity,” the Jamaica Observer was told.

According to the NWC, however, “although these are encouraging numbers, it would be premature at this stage to make a pronouncement on supply disruptions and water supply regulations”.

It further noted that, “although there have been bouts of heavy rainfall in the Corporate Area in recent times, the country is still in the secondary dry period which, traditionally, should end in July. It is not uncommon for there to be unusual weather patterns due to climate change factors.”

In response to questions concerning disruptions in supply for citizens in the Corporate Area it said, “it must be underscored that NWC customers must still conserve as best as they can just in case there are unplanned disruptions in supply due to dry periods or other unplanned factors”.

Said the NWC: “Consumption patterns must always be monitored because the NWC is continuing its disconnection drive to collect outstanding amounts that are owed to the enterprise and substantial parts of what is owed stem from huge bills that are racked-up overtime due high consumption.”

— Alicia Dunkley-Willis

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