JIS News

Torrential rains and gusty winds associated with Hurricane Wilma have affected approximately 16 per cent of the National Water Commission’s water supply systems island wide, Corporate Public Relations Manager of the Commission, Charles Buchanan has informed.
Speaking with JIS News earlier today, Mr. Buchanan pointed out that the areas most affected lie in the eastern section of the island particularly in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew.
“As of today, the National Water Commission can confirm that more than 70 of our 460 water supply systems have been affected by the severe weather condition that has been impacting the island over the last several days,” he pointed out.
Extremely high turbidity levels and muddy inflows, particularly from river sources have affected most of these systems, he added.
“The extremely high turbidity level at many of these sources has resulted in either the treatment plants being forced to be temporarily shut down or severe reductions in their output, as a result of the extensive additional treatment regime that has to be put in place,” Mr. Buchanan told JIS News.
Other problems affecting the water supply systems include flooding; blocked intakes caused by debris or stones brought down by rivers; landslides, which have caused damage to pipeline infrastructure; and, disruption in electricity supply, either at the individual plant or in the general public supply.
For its part, the NWC is working assiduously to restore all affected systems in the shortest possible time; however, the Public Relations Manager advised that this might take some time.
“The restoration of each system will depend on the particular circumstance that is affecting it. In some instances where flood waters still have an impact on the system, that will have to await the abatement of the flood waters and some change in the weather conditions,” he said.
“Many of the systems in rural St. Andrew, for instance, have experienced blockages in the intakes and extremely high turbidity levels as would be the case in many systems in St. Thomas. The turbidity levels as well as the blocked intake problem are primarily impacting our river sources. By and large, our well sources are operating fairly well,” he added.
Continuing, Mr. Buchanan pointed out that systems affected by high turbidity levels would continue to have problems until the rain ceased, while those that have blocked intakes, with the rivers in spate, could not be worked on until the water had receded.
“In other instances, where we have had dislocated pipelines, work is taking place on those where it is possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Buchanan is advising the public that additional areas may be affected if the rains persist.”If the rains were to continue and depending on the situation that exists along the distribution network and at the treatment plant, there might be some disruption in the water supply. There may also be some reductions in pressure,” he advised.