DH | Commissioner says Statia’s water problems are ‘serious’

A dug-up trench where St. Eustatius Utility Company STUCO is carrying out repairs to its main water line | Daily Herald

EUSTATIUS–Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij says the struggles of St. Eustatius Utility Company STUCO with water leaks, the annual drought season and other issues that forced the company to ration the supply of water on a regular basis, are “serious,” particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The public entity St. Eustatius as shareholder, STUCO and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fred Cuvalay are taking a proactive role in finding sustainable solutions for the frequent interruptions in the water supply.

Cuvalay said in a statement which was read by Van Rij that all stakeholders are taking a proactive role in this matter, finding practical solutions until the situation can be improved in a sustainable manner.

The frequent interruptions in the water supply are caused by leaks in the piping system and the system’s limited delivery capacity. Therefore, Statia’s consumers should expect repeated water-rationing measures until STUCO’s new water plant becomes operational in October 2020, when the company will be able to expand its water-production capacity from 375 to 625 cubic metres a day.

In the coming period, and where possible, STUCO will not fully shut off the water supply, delivering water to its customers only from 5:00am to 8:00am and 5:00-8:00pm.

“We have asked crisis manager Peter Glerum to prepare a contingency plan for the drinking water supply for the upcoming months, at least up to October,” Van Rij said. Glerum will be working closely with STUCO on this plan.

Cuvalay said interruptions in the water supply do not have the same impact on all clients. STUCO clients with a cistern or water tank which they use on a daily basis are only minimally impacted. The only issue they might have is that there is a possible difference of quality between the water from the cistern and STUCO’s water.

Clients who do not actively use a cistern or water tank should be made aware of this alternative and are recommended to have the Health Department double-check their water-storage system.

Clients without a cistern or water tank do not have an available alternative. “We totally understand that these clients are confronted with the negative consequences of the regular leakages,” Cuvalay said. He stressed that all its customers should use bottled water for drinking purposes when using a cistern.

It was stressed that Queen Beatrix Medical Centre and the St. Eustatius Auxiliary Home would be connected to the water distribution system at all times and would only be cut off from the water supply under extreme circumstances. Both facilities are also connected to a cistern.

Considering the gradual reopening of schools from Monday, May 11, Cuvalay said that all schools have cisterns and sufficient water for flushing toilets, and have sufficient drinking water available.

Public Health Department Director Carol Jack-Roosberg said the Vector Control Unit had visited each educational institution to chlorinate cisterns and advised that the water should be used for the flushing of toilets and handwashing.

STUCO experienced another leak to its main line on Wednesday, May 6. The water system had to be shut down for repairs. To build up pressure in the water storage tank, water was not available until 5:00pm, Thursday, May 7.

For any emergencies concerning the water supply and to report leaks, persons are asked to call STUCO’s emergency telephone number 318-2343.

Bron: Daily Herald

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