The countdown to a partial water shutdown on St Helena continues as stored water levels remain exceptionally low. The light rains over the past two days have helped very slightly but have not raised stored levels.
Consumption from the Red Hill Treatment Plant is disappointingly high at 373 cubic metres today, compared with a normal average of roughly 400 cubic metres. We must stretch this precious resource – please use less water in this area. Stored levels still only give us about 6 days’ supply.
The medium term weather forecast shows no substantial rainfall over the next few days, so the Contingency Planning Group (CPG) is progressing the plan for shutting off domestic water in specific areas if necessary. This will see water tanks at key locations in the Red Hill Treatment Plant area and other public sources (for example, in Jamestown) to ensure that the public can access the water they need.
The affected areas would be Half Tree Hollow, Cowpath, Ladder Hill, Red Hill, Sapper Way, New Ground, Clay Gut, Pounceys, Kunjie Field, Scotland, Plantation, Cleughs Plain, Rosemary Plain, Francis Plain, Crack Plain and Guinea Grass.
Specific sites for public water tanks are being identified and tanks deployed (an ongoing process). CPG has been discussing this and other matters with third parties, including merchants, retailers, Faith groups and Basil Read.
Residents in the affected areas will now want to consider whether they have suitable clean containers to collect water, and will no doubt also be thinking of family and friends who might be vulnerable and needing help. If we have to take the step of shutting off supplies, we have been examining phasing options.
A Control Centre, which will be manned during the day, evening and weekends, has now been assembled and systems are being put in place should actual shut down happen.
Some specific reports have been received about water wastage, which are now being investigated (principally by the Police). We urge the public to continue to think very carefully about their water usage.
The public will wish to note that since November last year, St Helena has received only about a third of the rainfall it would normally expect – not at all like the seasonal norm.
A water conservation leaflet will soon be available from Health and Social Welfare, the Customer Service Centre and various other outlets, including local shops. Further details will follow.
Notes to Editors:
The Island-wide hosepipe and sprinkler ban (imposed on Friday 24 May 2013) remains in place until further notice. All St Helena residents are reminded that they can now use water for domestic purposes only.
St Helena residents – particularly those in the problem areas – are urged to exercise real care and consideration when using water.
Residents are reminded that they can save water by:
• Not flushing the toilet on every occasion
• Using washing up water on the garden or vegetable patch
• Using the washing machine sparingly and only when full
• Taking a short shower instead of a bath – you can save up to 90 gallons of water a week
• Turning the tap off while brushing teeth – this could save 25 gallons of water a month
• Using a bowl when washing vegetables/fruit instead of using running water
• Checking your taps for leaks and fixing them – a small drip can amount to 20 gallons a day.
More water saving tips can be found online at http://www.thameswater.co.uk/home/540.htm
Residents not served by the Red Hill Treatment Plant may use water for agriculture if they are growing on a large scale for commercial purposes. Such residents should ask ENRD to answer any specific questions they have.
The use of fresh water on a small scale, such as on household vegetable patches, is prohibited throughout the Island.
The water storage situation at Harpers remains severe.
The Contingency Planning Group includes members from Connect SH Ltd, Health and Social Welfare, ENRD, the Police and other senior SHG officials.
Leaks in mains supplies remain a priority and any problems should be reported promptly to Connect Saint Helena Ltd on telephone 2255 during working hours, or 2522 out of hours.
29 May 2013