The National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) was forced to institute a shutdown of its Annandale Water Treatment Plant on the weekend to address several major leaks on its distribution network.
Within hours on November 29, broken mains were reported in Tempe, Beaulieu, Archibald Avenue, along Scott and Young Streets, in the Town of St. George and Belmont.
The shutdown, which can only be described as unprecedented and affecting consumers from Annandale, Constantine, New Hampshire through to River Road and the entire south of the island, saw crews working throughout the night on Friday and into the weekend, to repair nine (9) broken mains ranging from 4 to 12 inches in various areas along the Annandale distribution network.
Head of the Transmission and Distribution Department (T&D), Ernest Bruno, while apologising to the affected consumers, noted that it was a most challenging experience for his team.
“We had broken mains at Tempe, we had approximately four in the Town of St. George, one at Belmont and two along the Mt. Gay/Beaulieu road”, he said.
The Annandale Water System was reopened on Saturday, however, some customers continue to be challenged by a lack of water supply.
According to Bruno, “because of the various elevations, everybody will never receive water at the same time”.
“The system was reopened since around 12:00 noon on Saturday, however, most of the persons at the higher elevations will not receive water until the system is completely recharged”, he remarked.
According to the T&D Head, this unusual occurrence highlights the need for a total distribution network upgrade to ensure a more reliable and adequate water supply to consumers.
“I think this lends a lot to what I call the hydraulic and hydrostatic integrity of our lines. Our lines are worn, they are old and they are weak. They cannot sustain any increase in pressure, which may be required to send water to the higher points”, he said.
As a result, he said, “we cannot continue to repair these lines, these lines need replacement. There must be projects as soon as possible so as to have line replacement”.
He added: “In this vein, I wish to applaud and commend the government, for its vision in allowing a small increase in the rates. This will go a long way in helping us to alleviate that problem”.
“When we replace these lines, we will be able to provide a more reliable and consistent water supply to our customers” he said.
NAWASA continues to remind consumers of the need to always have at least a three-day stored supply, reflecting 35 gallons of water, per person, per day.
This mitigates the discomforts associated with a lack of running water, as challenges occur that can result in supply being affected, sometimes for extended periods.
NAWASA apologises to all affected consumers for the inconveniences caused and thanks consumers for their patience as we work towards the delivery of a safe, adequate and reliable water supply.