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JIS News

Some 95 per cent of water systems that were damaged as a result of the floods which accompanied Tropical Storm Gustav, have been returned to service.
However, Corporate Public Relations Manager of the National Water Commission (NWC), Charles Buchanan, is reminding Jamaicans that they might still experience interruptions in their supply.
“We remind the 95 per cent of customers, who have received their regular supplies, that they may still experience fluctuations in their water supply,”
Mr. Buchanan told JIS News. “The system is now unstable and will remain so until the repairs to the other five per cent of the facilities are complete,” he added.
Mr. Buchanan said that customers in the five per cent, who lack regular water supply, are located in rural St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and St. Catherine, and to a lesser extent, St. Mary. He said the damage done as a result of the floods, was not only to NWC facilities, but also to those of the Jamaica Public Service Company, which supplies electrical power.
In the meantime, the NWC is encouraging persons to plan for disasters, and in doing so, to remember the role that water plays.
“You have not yet really planned for a disaster if your plan does not include a water supply plan. A safe and realistic approach to the preparations for natural disasters, is to expect that piped water supply may be disrupted after a hurricane, earthquake, or other disaster,” said the NWC official.
“No emergency supply kit is complete without your own supply of water. Water supplies may also be disrupted for other reasons as well, and so it is always a good idea to have as much water stored as is possible at all times. Water that is stored in clean, air-tight containers in a cool place remains safe indefinitely,” he added.
The NWC is advising customers to store water in containers that have been washed and rinsed properly, and reminds that containers previously used for chemicals or toxic material, should not be used to store water. According to the NWC, properly stored water may be changed every six months or so to maintain freshness.
For those persons who have storage tanks, the NWC advises that these should be filled before an event, such as a hurricane, and make sure that the return valve is working, as this will prevent the water from flowing back into the line.
Persons without water tanks are advised to collect water in as many containers as possible. These containers should be appropriate for water storage, and can be used to collect the precious liquid from trucks, when they come to deliver water.
In order to keep the environment safe and protect water sources, the NWC warns against the dumping of garbage into rivers and streams, especially those from which water is collected for human use.
“A major cause of damage and disruption at water treatment plants is the effect of silt, run-off water, and debris on screens and intake structures,” the NWC official informed.
Mr. Buchanan explained that a major contribution to this, is the state of the natural environment. “If trees are planted and the watershed areas are not stripped bare, but kept clear of debris and rubbish, the damage and disruption at water treatment plants will be greatly reduced,” he said.