by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- 20% decline in water resource at the Les Avocat Dam
- Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology predicts long-term drought
- Valve regulations will mostly affect the eastern division
Just 16 days into the dry season, the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), has reported a 20% decline in water resource at the Les Avocat Dam, St David.
This follows the prediction made by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), that Caribbean islands such as Antigua, northern Bahamas, Cayman Islands, western Cuba, Grenada, eastern Jamaica, and St Kitts should monitor their water resources as they can expect to have a long-term drought in the dry season because of a weak to moderate El Nino.
General Manager Christopher Husbands says this significant drop in water reserves is quite alarming and NAWASA has already instituted valve regulations which will mostly affect the eastern division.
“We are starting to feel the effects of the dry season. The shortages are going to be felt first actually more on the eastern side from St David all the way down to St Paul’s; Calivigny we are already starting to see drops in the resource there. The Les Avocat Dam which is the system that serves from St Pauls all the way down to Morne Jaloux and Calivigny we have about a 20% drop.”
Valve regulations are now in full effect. “People are going to experience valve regulations this week. We are going to be sending out schedules so that people can plan. We continue to urge people to fill their storage and certainly allow us to weather the challenges in a better manner.”
The illegal lighting of bushfires in the past have also significantly put a strain on the limited available water resources of NAWASA and people are being cautioned to refrain from doing so this dry season.
“We will have to resort to water truck delivery and valve regulations and trying to be more efficient with our operations. Our response to leaks has to be improved, and certainly more resources will be dedicated to that.” Husbands said, “I want to appeal to people to be very careful when lighting fires. That has been an area that has affected us in significant ways in the past, especially because as the dry season intensifies you give a certain particular village a 6-hour supply of water… and unfortunately a bushfire breaks out in that same village, and the fire service has to respond, and a lot of water we intend to go to the consumer in the area is taken up by the fire.”
Meanwhile, NAWASA continues to undertake major projects to further improve the system quality and delivery of water and sewage. This includes the $3.5 million True Blue Sewer Project, which once completed will serve the True Blue area from the St George’s University and Sea View Drive to the entrance of True Blue roundabout. The projects included the excavation and laying of sewer pipes, and construction of 2 sewer pumping stations, 2 wet wells and a generator room.
According to Planning and Development Manager at NAWASA, Whyme Cox that project is 92% completed and should be completed by the end of February 2019.
Other notable projects to alleviate water storage issues during the dry season include the installation of a 1,000-gallon water storage tank at 18 schools around the island as part of Schools Community Water Storage project; the installation of Grenada’s first community-based Rainwater Harvesting System in Blaize in St Andrew and the replacement of new pipes in the northern part of the island in St Patrick to ease distribution issues there.
Cox said the community of Blaize in St Andrew would also benefit from the setup of the pumping station which will be installed at Carrier that will serve to various communities. “We have a rainwater facility at Blaize which during the rainy season works perfectly well. However during the dry season we have the issue where the trucks have to be going up there. Therefore, we are going to be embarking on a project where we will be setting up a pumping station at Carrier in St John, and we will be running lines all the way up to Blaize so during the dry season we can assist the community.”
Another project called the Dry River project will see the alleviation of shortage in communities such as La Digue and Dry River. The residents of Munich, St Andrew, can also rest assure that NAWASA has planned to start the installation of a new treatment plant to improve the quality of water in collaboration with Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNFT) scheduled to begin in March 2019.
NAWASA has also made provision this year to commence the construction of new headquarters on Lucas Street in St George with a small outlet in the town as part of the initiative to assist its customers regarding parking convenience and accessibility.
US$15 million funding from the United Kingdom Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has also been allocated to expand the water treatment plant at Concord to the south of the island. “This project also has a wastewater component that is going to incorporate the Lagoon road sewage system so we will be upgrading the wastewater sewage system on the Carenage, and the water supply component as I mentioned is going to take the Concord system that now gets into St George will take it further down south to assist with issues of supply in the south of the island,” said Cox.
The feasibility study for the above project mention has been completed, and the commencement phase is scheduled for mid-2019.