Countdown To Water Shutdown Continues

Residents Urged to Conserve Water

The countdown to a partial water shutdown on St Helena continues as stored water levels remain exceptionally low. Consumption from the Red Hill Treatment Plant has reduced slightly (at 232 cubic metres today, compared with an average of roughly 400 cubic metres) and this is positive – we thank the public for stretching this precious resource. But stored levels still only give us about 6 days’ supply. 

Rainfall over the past few days has not raised levels of stored water in any of the Harpers reservoirs.

This weekend, we urge residents served by the Red Hill Treatment Plant to do all they can to use less water.  A leaflet – Your Top Ten Tips to Saving Water – is now available in local shops (see below).

The new long term weather forecast indicates only light, intermittent rainfall over the next couple of month, which is not good news.  So the Contingency Planning Group (CPG) is mobilising resources in anticipation of a possible shutdown of domestic water in:  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.

This would see public water tanks at key locations in the affected areas, plus other public sources (for example, in Jamestown) to ensure that the public can access the water they need.

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 will no doubt be thinking of family and friends who might be vulnerable and may need help.

A Control Centre, which will be manned during the day, evenings and weekends, is now in place ready, should shutdown go ahead.

Finally, any reports of water wastage will be investigated by the Police.

Notes to Editors:

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.

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.

NOTE:  Customs Duty Exemption on Bottled Water and Water Containers:

Following public representations, a proposal was put to the Collector of Customs and to ExCo, that all bottled water and water containers be made exempt from Customs Duty.  The Acting Governor in Council agreed that from 30 May 2013, no Customs Duty would be payable on such imports from that date.   

It is strongly hoped that this reduction in Duty will result in a comparable reduction in the price of water sold by retailers, once the ship returns from Cape Town.  We wish to see the full 20% reduction passed on to customers. The price of water will be closely monitored by SHG. This exemption is for a temporary period, until drought concerns are lifted, and will be assessed by Customs on a ship by ship basis.

The CPG today also thanked the RMS for donating 4 pallets of bottled water as a further contingency measure

St Helena residents – particularly those in the problem areas – are urged to exercise real care and consideration when using water. A leaflet Your Top Ten Tips to Saving Water – is now available at:

Public Library, Jamestown, Customer Service Centre, Jamestown, Health and Social Welfare Directorate, Upper Jamestown, and Consulate Hotel,

Plus Half Tree Hollow Supermarket, A & D’s Mini Mart, Half Tree Hollow, Andy’s Shop, Half Tree Hollow, MTB’s Pick and Pay, Half Tree Hollow, and Godfather’s Rock Club, Half Tree Hollow.

And Phillip John’s Shop, St Paul’s, McDaniel’s Shop, Cleugh’s Plain, New Ground Shop, Sydneyray’s Shop, Cow Path, and Red Hill Shop,

The leaflet reminds residents that they can save water in numerous ways, including:   

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

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.


31 May 2013


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St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470