Full restoration of water systems could cost EC$20 million – Saunders
December 27, 2013
Full restoration of water systems could cost EC$20 million – Saunders

In the space of a few hours, approximately 75 per cent of the country’s water supply was damaged, and preliminary estimated costs for full restoration and remedial measures to the affected systems could run into EC$20 million.{{more}}

This is according to General Manager of Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA), Garth Saunders.

“Never before in the many years of life of the CWSA has one single weather event resulted in such widespread and simultaneous damage to country’s water supply plant,” Saunders said in a written update provided to SEARCHLIGHT.

On Tuesday night – Christmas Eve, eight of the 11 water systems of CWSA were simultaneously put out of commission over a period of three hours by the recent torrential rains, which resulted in the overflowing of as many as 30 major rivers islandwide, including those traversed by the CWSA’s transmission mains from many sources.

The sources affected include Owia, Sandy Bay, Peseverance, Jennings, Montreal, Dalaway, Layou and Hermitage.

Saunders stated that the Hermitage system, which supplies areas from Barrouallie to Richmond, has lost several sections of its transmission pipeline, mainly at river crossings and damage to the intake structure was also sustained.

Vehicular access to the North Leeward area is presently restricted due to the existence of several landslides along the main Leeward Highway and the access road to the Hermitage Intake. Once access is provided, restorative work will commence immediately.

In the mean time however, Saunders said that the CWSA will be working with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the Ministry of Health to ship water to the Chateaubelair wharf so that medical facilities and residents there can have access to water.

The general manager noted that the Layou system sustained damage in several locations; however it was restored on December 26 by teams from CWSA.

The Dalaway system, which supplies 40 per cent of the country with water, from Buccament to Calliaqua, has had a major section of its 12 inch transmission main washed away at a river crossing on the Vermont River.

Although the replacement of that section of pipeline cannot be done immediately because of continuing rain and the still heavy flow of the river, Saunders pointed out that the CWSA technical team is working on a short term solution that is intended to result in an intermittent supply to all the affected areas from South Leeward, including those from Kingstown to Villa.

“The CWSA is also utilizing its water tender to help in the distribution of water to affected areas in and around Kingstown and the high demand from customers for the services of this truck has prompted some private sector individuals to assist with the distribution,” he said.

Saunders indicated that the Owia, Sandy Bay and Peserverance systems were severely affected with dislocations of several sections of the transmission mains. Unfortunately, the restriction of vehicular access to the North Windward area is delaying the start of restorative work on these systems.

Damage to the Jennings system, which was damaged at the source and along the transmission main, has resulted in water supply to several areas along the Windward Coast being disrupted.

While repair on the Jennings system commenced on Wednesday, affected areas along the Windward coast could have their supply restored, at least, by tomorrow, December 28.

In April 2011, repairs to the Jennings and Perseverance water systems which were damaged by floods were estimated to cost between EC$1 and EC$1.5 million.