Garth Saunders
June 11, 2021
Public urged to remain vigilant for 2021 Hurricane Season

The Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA) has cautioned the population to remain vigilant, given that the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season has begun.

Last week Wednesday, during a press briefing at the CWSA’s offices at Old Montrose, Chief Executive Officer Garth Saunders, stressed that the hurricane season can be problematic for the CWSA.  

The Atlantic Hurricane Season began on June 1 and runs to November 30, and Saunders noted that the season brings with it heavy rains that can cause flooding, land slippage and blockage to rivers, including the CWSA’s intakes. He noted also that heavy rainfall can sometimes dislodge the CWSA’s pipelines.  

Saunders said that in some instances, flooding means a disruption of the water supply, and that means that in every community on mainland St. Vincent, persons should be alerted to the fact that, “you can lose your water supply system in the aftermath of a heavy rainfall event.”

He stressed that the CWSA is not yet capable of knowing which system would be lost so they require people to be in a state of preparedness in terms of the water supply.  

As a result, the CWSA is asking residents to have two to four days of water stored as the CWSA’s staff has to be given time to do damage assessment, plan a response, and carry out reconstruction where and when necessary.  

“So the two to four days is what we require and we as… at CWSA, we normally give the advice that you should plan for 15 gallons per person per day in your homes,” Saunders said while noting that it can be more, but the CWSA understands there are challenges.  

He said the CWSA is urging persons to focus on the weather reports and to plan for rainfall throughout the remainder of the hurricane season.  

He is also encouraging persons to keep up to date with releases from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), the Meteorological Services, and the CWSA’s Facebook page.  

“Activate your home water storage plans, keep water stored in receptacles that can be kept secured and covered, and you can assure that CWSA as usual will do its best to minimise inconveniences during this period, hence we would work as we normally do, assiduously, to try to restore the system in the shortest possible time,” Saunders said.  

The CEO also noted that during disruption, areas that may be out of water for a significant period would be serviced by truck borne water.  

At last Wednesday’s press briefing Saunders also recapped the challenges faced by the CWSA in 2020, the organisation’s response to the drought, their preparation and response to the volcanic eruption, customer relief measures, the financial impact of COVID-19, and gave a status report of the water supply and solid waste systems in the aftermath of the volcanic eruptions. 

The briefing also heard from Solid Waste Manager Winsbert Quow, and Senior Engineer, Bernard Maloney.