In May of this year Connect Saint Helena Ltd and St Helena Government (SHG) declared an Island-wide sprinkler and hosepipe ban. With dry weather forecast for the months ahead domestic water levels on St Helena, especially in the Redhill area, had reached exceptionally low levels. Residents in the affected areas were then urged to exercise great care and restraint when using domestic water.

A Contingency Planning Group (CPG) comprising members from Connect Saint Helena, Health and Social Welfare, Environment and Natural Resources, the Police and other senior SHG officials was formed to lead on handling the water situation.

The public were kept abreast of the water situation and reminded of the water restrictions to prolong the available supply for as long as possible.

Fortunately contingency plans for a partial water shutdown were not activated as substantive rainfall significantly maximised reservoir levels at Redhill– following this, Island-wide water restrictions were lifted on 23 August 2013.

It was also announced last week (24 September 2013) that the boil water notice, previously issued for the Redhill treatment area, had been lifted as water for domestic purposes was declared good quality.
Across the Island Connect Saint Helena has now resumed a ‘business as usual’ status and there are no restrictions currently in place.

CEO of Connect Saint Helena, Barry Hubbard reported:

“The shortages in water within the first few months of Connect Saint Helena trading prompted us to very quickly establish monitoring programs and contingency plans for the business. With the support of the multi-agency contingency group the whole water supply situation was put under a great deal of scrutiny and as we emerge from this difficult period we are in a significantly stronger position to identify and deal more swiftly with any similar situation that may arise in the future.”

For the longer term SHG and Connect Saint Helena now have in place a practical and workable contingency plan to provide advance warning should an event like this occur in the near future.
An analysis and early warning system has been put in place to better optimise water already in the system and Connect Saint Helena will also procure equipment which will enable better monitoring of water flows.

Interim Water Operations Manager for Connect Saint Helena, Leon De Wet commented:

“The recent water crisis on St Helena has been a lesson learning experience for everyone and we have now managed to put things right that should have been right in the first place.

“We now have a fully documented Contingency Plan and better reporting system to account for changing weather patterns in the event that something similar occurs in the near future.

“We will continuously maximise spring intakes into water treatment works and we now have pumping solutions to draw on should this ever happen again. Our new reporting system will be used as a basis for any decision going forward.”

SHG and Connect Saint Helena would once again like to thank water consumers both in the affected areas and Island-wide for their reduced consumption which helped to ease the water situation.

SHG
1 October 2013

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