JIS News

The National Water Commission (NWC) is reminding customers that it is likely that water supply will be discontinued some two to three hours before a hurricane makes landfall.
Speaking with JIS News, Corporate Communications Manager of the NWC, Charles Buchanan, said that, “despite the best effort of the NWC, water supply systems remain vulnerable.”
“This is so, because large sections of the water infrastructure exist in water courses, in particular flood plains that may be affected in the event of a hurricane or storm,” he explained.
Customers of the NWC across the island are expected therefore to take all precautions to minimize the effect of necessary disruptions of their domestic and commercial water supplies.
“It’s in the interest of all our customers to begin storing water well in advance of the shutdown period, so if Hurricane Dean, which is approaching Jamaica.begins impacting us Sunday afternoon, all persons should have stored water by Sunday morning,” Mr. Buchanan said.
The NWC Manager cautioned against everyone trying to collect water for storage at the same time.
“If all persons (are trying to) store water at the same time, it might result in the system experiencing low pressure because of sudden increase in demand,” he pointed out.
Mr. Buchanan advised that persons should get many large containers to store water. He further recommended that in the immediate hurricane circumstance, persons should use all available containers for storage.
Provision of emergency water supplies will be part of the process immediately after the hurricane. “We have an extensive trucking operation where we use all trucks available to the NWC from our own fleet, the Rapid Response fleet and privately owned vehicles that are made available to us,” Mr. Buchanan said. He pointed out, however, that access roads might be impassable, so trucking would not be possible, which underscored the need for individual customers to be prepared and store enough for the emergency.
Restoration of service would depend on the level of impact at the particular water supply system, and he gave the assurance that if all that occurred was that intake became turbid, normalcy would resume as quickly as the turbidity was addressed.
The NWC Manager appealed to persons who would want to tamper with water installations in their bid to get water for emergencies, to desist from this illegal and destructive practice. “Tampering with installations like fire hydrants will, in most instances, not yield water but instead create greater challenges for restoring normalcy,” he said.
“Even where we have wells at a facility, bursting pipes and interfering with installations will not result in getting water if there is no electricity to pump it,” Mr. Buchanan emphasized.
In the meantime, NWC customers are advised to pay close attention to information and instructions provided mainly through the news media. The NWC has activated its emergency National Command and Control Centre, which will have toll-free telephone lines that are manned for the duration of a hurricane. Emergency operations will also be conducted from various area and parish offices and information will be disseminated islandwide through every available outlet.
Reiterating that the NWC had taken every precautionary step necessary, Mr. Buchanan said that, “we are more prepared than ever before, having every year developed from lessons learnt in previous years.”
He is urging NWC customers to exercise good sense, patience and understanding, and pointed customers to their website at for more emergency tips.

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